Trigger warning: talking about sexual abuse/assault and rape.
Growing up you don’t hear much about sexual assault , at least not about the stuff that really matters. I see a lot about how it wouldn’t have happened if the victim did this or didn’t do that. I hear a lot of people telling victims they’re lying, that it’s not sexual assault , or they provoked it. What I don’t see a lot of is people supporting the victims and making their life a little easier by just making them feel safe to talk to someone about what happened.
Here are a few things growing up I wish I had heard about sexual assault and rape:
1) It is never the victims fault.
No matter what the situation it is still not their fault. Even if they were fine while kissing and touching but then changed their mind and wanted to stop, it’d not their fault.
Times when it’s not the victims fault:
- they never wanted it
- they are drunk or under the influence of any substance
- they are showing skin, and when they aren’t
- they changed their mind
- it was their boyfriend
Times when it is the victims fault:
2) It doesn’t matter how you are dressed
Whether you are covered in clothing all the way from your chin to your toes or you are absolutely naked you are still not at fault and can be sexually assaulted. If the amount of clothing or lack of clothing made you a target then sexual assault could be solved by covering up; however that is not the case as even in the winter sexual assault still happens. The assailant does not choose their target necessarily on attractiveness and lack of clothing, they go after someone who is an easy target. More often this means the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in an isolated or dark area, or someone that trusts them.
3) The assailant is not always a stranger
Yes they can be a stranger but your assailant is just as likely to be someone you know. Whether it is a coworker, your best friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, a classmate, or a family member they can be your assailant and it still is assault.
- It is still assault if you are or have been intimate with the person. Giving them consent once does not give them free reign to be intimate with you whenever they want to be.
4) Everyone can be a victim
Boy, girl, man, woman, mother, or teacher can be sexually assaulted. Just because you wouldn’t expect them to be assaulted. They are just as much a victim no matter their relationship with their assailant, their gender, or their ‘title’.
5) Sexual assault does not make you dirty, slutty, worthless or take away your value as a person
As a victim you may feel this way, but sexual assault does not make you any of these things. What happened does not take away your worth as a human, you are just as valuable as you were before your assault. You are still the same person, just something horrible happened to you. You are not dirty or slutty, you had no control over what happened to you and you should not let what happened have control over you. The only title your sexual assault gave you is a victim, a survivor.
6) After being raped or sexually assaulted you should report it.
Reporting it can be a tedious and stressful thing to do. However it can be beneficial to do so, along with getting a full STD/STI testing done. There are many organizations such as Surrey Women’s Centre (Surrey, BC, Canada) that can offer their support through this process.
Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx