Rape culture. Victim blaming. I didn’t know these were real things. I can’t comprehend that they actually are.
This post has been stirring in my heart for quite some time, and I know I won’t be able to do it justice, but I must try.
I am a victim of sexual abuse. It was not my fault.
Here are a few statistics that can be checked for validity here:
- 1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual abuse.
- 68% of attacks are not reported to the police.
- 47% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
- Every 2 minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
We have to do better. What can an educated mind gather from these statistics?
Sexual abuse is incredibly common, and is happening to our sisters, our mothers, our friends, our daughters. It is happening at the hands of friends and acquaintances and at a frequency that is damaging the souls of our generation faster than ever before. On top of all of that, women aren’t talking about it. They don’t feel safe to admit they’ve become a victim.
Why not? How have we failed them? What has gone wrong? What could possibly make a woman feel so much shame that she isn’t even willing to go to the police to confess what has been done to her?
How do we change this?
Stop. Victim. Blaming.
“She shouldn’t have been out that late.”
“She shouldn’t have been wearing that.”
“She was practically asking for it.”
“Maybe if she weren’t such a slut, she wouldn’t have been raped.”
This is NOT acceptable.
If you’re not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.
If you have found yourself even thinking the thoughts listed above, ask yourself why. Why do you need to assign blame? Why does your heart go there?
We help change culture by refusing to participate in its worst parts and speaking loudly enough to be heard over the ugly. We stop victim blaming. We call it out when we see it. We check our own hearts and ask the hard questions. Why am I inclined to want to place blame anywhere? Why can’t I see pain and injustice for exactly what it is without applying my own opinions of the situation? Why am I not able to just be grieved for the victim and the assaulter?
I have never once heard a woman ask to be raped or assaulted. We are smart enough to see that this isn’t an argument that holds, right? We are smart enough to see past any judgment we may place on her location or clothing and recognize the horror of what she must feel? Have we forgotten we are talking about human beings? Have we forgotten that we are talking about a daughter of God? Who has been abused and mistreated at the hands of evil?
My abuse happened at the hands of my father. At just 14 years old. I was wearing my pajamas. I was in my home. I did not ask for it. I am a victim of sexual abuse, and it was not my fault.
To ANY person that is a victim of sexual abuse, I sincerely hope you know it was not your fault. I hope our generation learns to be better for you. I hope you find a safe place to share your wounds, and that they are cared for and tended to with compassion and love. I pray you find true healing and that the ignorance of victim shaming commenters never even enters your world.
I believe we can be better. I believe we can be a force that changes culture.
If not us, then who? This is our family we’re talking about. These are our brothers and sisters. These are souls and hearts and minds that battle the lasting effects of sexual abuse and carry the pain with them for the rest of their lives.
Stop victim blaming. Be a part of the solution. Stand with the victim and say, “I am so sorry this happened to you. What can I do to help you?”
“Father I pray that careless words spoken in ignorance and hate are removed from this generation. I pray people are moved with compassion and love toward victims of abuse instead of blame and shame. I pray that guilt is not even an option for those abused, as the people they confide in cover them in love and care for their tender hearts. May we raise children who do not buy into victim blaming. May we opt out of this culture and use our voices to demand more for your children. Amen.”