“you’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter…and that you’re going to let people who do these things into power?!”
What you just read were the words of a sexual assault survivor to a sitting congressmen before the Senate Judiciary Committee met with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. I saw the video on Twitter and it broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. With the news of Bill Cosby’s slap on the wrist of a sentencing and Brett Kavanaugh’s being confirmed to the Supreme Court, emotions for me have been running high the last few weeks. I felt like I needed to say something about sexual assault and the survivors (and non survivors).
It’s crazy how when shit hits the fan, people you interact with the most, whether it be online or in person, show their true colors on issues that matter to you the most. I have had to go toe to toe with coworkers, family members, random strangers, trolls, etc about sexual assault. First of all, quit being dumbass number one and saying “why didn’t they say something sooner?” “why did she wait so long to say something?” What difference does it make when someone who was sexually assaulted decides to make it known?! The first thing that comes to mind is that you believe her/him, but you have a problem with when and how they decided to make it known. That’s a problem for me. It doesn’t matter if the person made it known the day it happens, 30 years later, or seconds before dying, a crime was committed and they deserve to be heard. And as for why they waited so long, if you have never been sexually assaulted (like myself), just imagine someone taking something so precious, and so personal from you without your consent. Leaving you shocked, crushing your sense of security, and snatching your sanity away. That’s what I think goes through the mind of anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Take that, and try to fight with whether or not to come forward or stay quiet about it. If you go public, there is a chance that justice will be served. That does not always happen, though. What happens is that you are shamed and blamed for it. “what were you wearing?” “how many drinks did you have?” “you lead him on.” That traumatizing experience is being thrown back in your face. And if the person who assaulted you happened to be a “good guy” you will not be believed by the general public, the systems of governments, being that they are majority men who can’t relate to such an experience. Even your own family is liable to question you and your story. So take all of that into consideration when it comes down to deciding whether to take this public or not….having to relive it is hard enough, but to have thrown in your face and be called a liar is unthinkable in my eyes. I remember reading an article about a girl’s house being burned down because she wanted to be heard and wanted the man that raped her to be put on trial. There are so many other stories out there, most of them include death threats, job losses, emotional turmoil, etc. It’s those things that make me have so much respect for anyone who has the courage to come out and seek justice for them and those that can’t speak up right now. I also have a great respect for those that can’t speak up, you’re not weak, you are the opposite and you deserve to be heard with respect.
What I want out of all of this is to stop looking at what the accuser is saying and deciding that she must be lying. Stop telling girls to not wear this and not wear that and to “act like a young lady,’ etc. We need to start holding men accountable for their actions, stop perpetuating rape culture, create a safe space for victims to come out and share their truth, and introduce consent into curriculums across the country. It’s time to start standing up for our survivors. And to those that can’t seem to grasp this. Just imagine if this were to happen to your son, or daughter, grandchild, mother, father, etc. And you wanted justice for them. It could happen so easily. And it could happen to you. Keep that in mind the next time you slander a survivor and assume he or she is lying.
And for any male that has been a victim of sexual assault, everything I’ve said here applies to you. Don’t let anyone minimize your situation. What happened to you was REAL, cruel, and deserves attention. You are not weak despite what they say.
That’s all I got to say. And one last thing: I BELIEVE SURVIVORS!!!!