Trigger Warning: Assault
There has been a lot of discussion of sexual assault on my Facebook page and other pages I read, including brave, personal details of sexual assaults. I am so proud of these women for coming forward and discussing their assaults, because so many times, women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies and to feel like their assaults are their fault. The shame grows deeper and deeper until women keep it quiet and safe and away from prying eyes.
To see women come forward with their stories, sharing because they want other women to know, want men to know, want the world to know that it is NEVER okay. And there is NO REASON to be ashamed. These courageous stories work to erase the stigma of sexual assault for the victim.
We live in a society that blames the victim for her assault: what was she wearing? what had she to drink? was she promiscuous? None of the questions matter. Sexual assault happens because of POWER, not because of ATTRACTION. The perpetrator assaults because he or she wants POWER over the victim, not because he or she was “asking for it.” Or any of a thousand other excuses out there to victim-blame.
It’s long past time we look past what’s comfortable and really read through these stories to see how courage and bravery and survival are encompassed in the figure of a man or woman who has suffered from sexual assault. We need to nurture those who need our help, our love, our listening ear, our shoulder to cry on. We need to be there to help them survive, and to thrive.
We need to love.