This has been a hard post for me to sit down and write.

This is not because it’s a topic that I cannot talk about, because I can talk for hours about this. It’s because I am so passionate about speaking out against it and so heartbroken over it that words cannot do it justice. I cannot find the words to say to truly express what I’m trying to share. I also don’t like posting when I’m angry and really wanted to carefully think of what I wanted to say.

I also wan’t to stress that this post isn’t directed at all women or at anyone in particular, but it is an expression of disappointment at some of the troubling reactions I’ve seen to women sharing their thoughts.

Lately in the media, there have been many victims of sexual assault coming forward about their experiences. There have been people being open about how it’s made them feel and even reasons why they’ve waited until now to speak about it. As soon as these people bravely came forward, in some cases they were met with shame, minimization, and victim-blaming.

They were made to be the villain in their own nightmare instead of the victim.

They were being shamed for things they may have done in the past and accused of being a liar.

“If you were telling the truth, you wouldn’t have waited so long to speak about it.”

“You just want attention.”

What’s most harrowing about these statements is that many of them have come from other women. It grieves me so much because instead of really walking alongside these victims who have bravely shared their experiences, people have sought to minimize them and find every reason why it could have been their fault.

They throw up the low statistics of how many times there are false rape reports and ignore the high number of unreported and reported rape reports.

You would think that in 2018, there would be enough public awareness of this issue that it wouldn’t be a struggle, but it is. People are still blaming women for what happened to them and it grieves me so much.

I understand there are people who believe that we should not assume someone is guilty until there is evidence stating so. However, shouldn’t the same attitude be given towards the victims of these crimes? Shouldn’t people also not assume that the victim is lying unless evidence says otherwise?

 

People often wonder why victims wait so long to come forward, but if people would look at the way that these cases are handled in the media and how people respond to them, they’d understand why. Would you feel comfortable sharing your experience, publicly, knowing that you would be shamed?

Would you feel confident expressing what happened to you, if you knew that your entire past would be used against you in court as supposed justification that it was your fault?

We all accept that robbery is wrong – right? We all acknowledge that if someone steals something that there should be justice served for it – right? We don’t say to someone who’s just been robbed that it’s their fault for wearing certain type of clothing – right?

Well, when someone rapes another person they are stealing from them. They are stealing that individual’s right to feel safe and their right to consent. They are robbing that person of what belongs to them. It’s wrong, regardless of what they were wearing.

Friends, we must be more supportive of those coming forward. It takes so much bravery and strength to be so vulnerable about something so traumatic. We must seek to support them in their time of suffering instead of trying to determine whether or whether not what happened to them actually happened.

Victims need support – not judgement.

I will say that I am incredibly thankful for the amount of people who have spoken about this and supported victims. I am so grateful for those brave people who have come out about their traumatic experiences. I am so thankful for people showing an outpour of support and covering other women in prayer.

Rape and rape-culture needs to stop, but we all must do our part in helping to end this fight. It is my hope that as women, we grow to continue to support those who come forward with their experiences instead of shaming them. 

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What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

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