Start Taking Sexual Assault Survivors Seriously

TW: sexual assault

I’ve been seeing this quote around that describes how some, when a woman comes forward with her story of sexual assault, say “but that was in the past!” or “we shouldn’t blame someone for something they did when they were younger!” But when a woman comes forward saying she was recently sexually assaulted, some will say “but think about his future!”

And few things have hit closer to home than this quote. In the past two years, I have seen so many women (and men!) coming forward to report their sexual assaults, which gives me hope. But with the increase of these reports, I have seen more people rush to defend rapists and make excuses as to why they shouldn’t go to prison. I’ve seen more victim blaming and slut shaming.

This makes me tired. Tired of not seeing survivors believed, or not being supported, of others trying to keep horrible people in power. I am sick of seeing people believing women only when it works for their political agenda. I am sick of seeing people belittle and insult survivors.

We still have such a long, long way to go and there are many obstacles in our way. For example, some women talk a big game about preventing rape and respecting survivors. But ACT on it, don’t just talk about it. Remember that men can be sexually assaulted too and stop with the slut shaming! Every woman has worth regardless of what she wears, how much she drinks, etc.

Men need to hold each other accountable, probably more than anyone else. If you think your friend is doing something that is violating another human being’s rights, for the love of god, call them out on it. Stop staying silent about your friend’s actions (why are you friends with people like this anyway?).

The biggest thing is: MAYBE means something. Believe survivors and stop voting people into office who *might have* sexually assaulted someone. Because those allegations are probably true, and survivors don’t bring their past experiences to the public eye unless they feel like they have to, many times to prevent someone from gaining more power. Also, strength in numbers. If one person speaks up, another will likely follow because they feel less afraid to do so.

There have been instances in my life where there’s been a “maybe.” A maybe he sexually assaulted someone, or maybe she sexually assaulted someone. And this happened with friends or people I thought knew better, and it broke my heart and my trust in them to think they were capable of something like that. Even if no one knows for sure what happened, the “maybe” means so much. It means you need to hold the people around them accountable, not just the person who “might have” done something unthinkable, but the people around him/her who also question that same thing, yet continue to be friends with them without any issues.

There is innocent until proven guilty, but I think many of us can agree that our judicial system is broken, and that many “innocent” people have gotten away with crimes they shouldn’t have. Instead of questioning survivors, question the person they are accusing. Not everything is as it seems.

This topic is a little out of the ordinary of what I usually post, but this is something that is very important to me. No one should ever feel violated. No one should ever have to deal with something as damaging as sexual assault. I try to stay away from serious issues on my blog as to not alienate readers, but we need to talk about topics like this more and be kinder to survivors, because the negative things I see on social media that are directed toward sexual assault survivors is truly appalling and disheartening, especially when you see it from someone who is supposed to be leading our country.

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