You just met this guy. He seems nice enough. After all, you’ve been talking to him on the phone and the conversation is intriguing. You decide to go out or maybe he invites you over for dinner or vice versa. Dinner is going well and you decide to watch a movie. For my younger audience, we gon Netflix and chill right? LOL. Then things begin to get weird. They try to kiss you or begin to touch you in places that you do not want them to or they try to fondle you. All of a sudden they’re on top of you and begin to penetrate you. All the squirming and trying to push them off isn’t making this stop and for some reason you can’t seem to talk. It finally ends and you leave. Completely confused about what just happened, you get home and shower and never speak of this night again. Was I just raped? Was I assaulted? I don’t have any bruises. I didn’t scream. I couldn’t even say no. I just sort of laid there. After all, I had already planned that if this ever happened to me, I would fight, I’d scream, I’d run, etc., but here I am and I can’t seem to do any of that.
Unfortunately, ladies and gentleman, this is exactly how rape and/or sexual assault happens to many women. TV has painted this picture of rape being this stranger that jumps out of the bushes or from a dark alley. She’s all beat up and bleeding. Don’t get me wrong that does happen. However, that doesn’t happen to everyone.
According to the statistics on rainn.org, almost 4/5 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim. 82% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger. 47% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
Many survivors walk away and look no different. They are not all beat up and bleeding. They don’t have any external scars and you know what, they may show no evidence that an assault has even occurred. Even if she does go to the hospital and report it and have a rape kit done, she may have no evidence or DNA on her body. The abrasions that she may have down there can come from consensual sex she wanted to have with someone else days before.
So, why should you tell? Why report? Why go to counseling? Just last week, a young lady decided to share her story on social media. Here are a few responses:
"Bringing up a survivors sexual history is like saying, “if you have _____ amount of sexual partners you can’t be raped."
"lemme get this straight…cuz I casually talk about sex from time to time… there’s a chance I could be lying about being raped???"
"or if you enjoy sex, you can’t be raped."
Some of my personal favorite ignorant statements are:
Well what did you expect being over there so late?
You shouldn’t have gotten drunk.
You shouldn’t have been flirting or dressed the way you did.
Hum, really now? So, for those that believe these statements, put yourself in our shoes and you tell me how you would respond. What would you do when you’re telling the police your story and they seem to really not care or believe the words that are coming out of your mouth? What do you do when you tell someone you thought would support you and they don’t believe you or get upset with you? What happens if you immediately tell, get a rape kit done and it does go to trial. After painstakingly testifying about the event that took place and having every facet of your life put on display, even the stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with that night, the jury finds him not guilty because of a technicality or a lack of evidence. Does it feel worth it now? And for those that believe she shouldn’t have drank or had on a short skirt, tell me what the 2 year old that was raped by her uncle had on that made her attractive enough to take her innocence?
Bottom line, should we report rape and sexual assault, absolutely but if you don’t or didn’t don’t beat yourself up because of it. It takes a lot to verbally say out of your mouth that this happens. Due to all of the myths and beliefs that people, both men and women, think and believe out there, it doesn’t always create a conducive environment to want to run and tell anybody. The above statements are only some of the things that people are bold enough to say on social media and sometime to your face. However, for every survivor that has heard such ignorance, try not to internalize it. There are people that will listen and believe you and want to help you heal and be restored from this horrible crime, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT’S BEEN.
We usually say that when men become a part of the solution, we can solve this problem. I dare say that if we ALL become a part of the solution, we can greatly reduce this problem. Do unto others, as you would have them to do unto you.