Thursday, February 10, 2011

Validating Survivors

I was raped in the fall of 2006 and I was sexually assaulted to a lesser extent in the fall of 2008. The second one taught me, among many other things, that it doesn't matter how far the assault goes, the aftermath is just as bad. Believe someone that no matter how "stupid" their assault was or how "it could have been much worse" that their pain is real and needs to be validated.

People speaking out that they've been raped is hard, but telling someone that something happened but it ended before they were raped can be harder. Think about it, it can be harder to believe that it wasn't the person's fault.  You might think that the victim is trying to say they actually regretted it but don't want to blame themselves for it ever happening. Let me give you advice, no matter what someone says, whether it is a guy or a girl, whether it is rape or something less, believe them. 1 in 6 women will be survivors of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime and the outlook for men only drops to 1 in 33 in their lifetime. That means there is a heck of a lot of survivors out there and not a lot of them are speaking about it. If you thought you didn't know a female in this position, think again and I'm sure somewhere along the way you will, or already have, met a male in the same position. Think of a college lecture hall, there are probably 33 guys in there.

You want to know what else this means? There are plenty of us speaking out about what happened and being blamed for what happened, told we are lying, told we asked for it. Trust me, I've heard it all. It helps keep the safety bubble for others. After all, if the victim had some, if not all, of the responsibility for what happened to them, then the rest of the world can control the safety of their own lives. Apparently, denial works for the victim as well as those that hear their story.

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