15 Phrases to never say when discussing a victim of sexual assault
January 25, 2016 at 2:00 am
Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture (via: Marshall University).
Rape culture is a sensitive yet necessary topic to address; it is alive and well. There is a fine line associated with discounting one’s horrors, not to mention a devastating blow to turn their pain into your own personal CSI case. Rape “jokes” are never funny, for the record, and never to be downplayed. It can happen to anyone — men, women, children, etc.. It can happen in the workplace, at home, in school, and in churches and prisons. Rape accusations should never be taken with a grain of salt or normalized by any means.
The phrases below are some commonly used when discussing sexual assault victims.
- “What were they wearing?”
- “Why were they alone with him?”
- “How come they are just now coming forward after all these years?”
- “They just wanted instant fame. Opportunists.”
- “They are looking for a payday.”
- “Why are they trying to bring a good person down?”
- “Why did they accept a drink from him?”
- “They don’t have any proof.”
- “They are lying.”
- “They were ready and willing.”
- “They knew what they were getting themselves into.”
- “Did they really think that they could take down such a powerful person?”
- “They were just groupies.”
- “They should have known meeting in a hotel room would lead to sex.”
- “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Did You Know: 68% OF SEXUAL ASSAULTS GO UNREPORTED to the police?
Sexual assault victims are listening and hanging on to our every word or stance on the issue. Yes, they hear you loud and clear and have a general idea of who will likely advocate for them when needed. Obviously, many of the harsh criticisms heard the loudest stem directly from their very own social media circles, friends, colleagues and even family members. And in response, victims of rape can easily become completely triggered and may feel shut-out or hopeless.
Did You Know: 98% OF RAPISTS WILL NEVER SPEND A DAY IN JAIL?
It should come as no surprise that 98 percent of rapists never spend time in jail as many victims might refuse to report or speak up on the occurrences due to continued blaming and shaming, not only in the media but amongst their very own peers.
And how backwards is it that women, in general, are being “taught” how not to get raped versus teaching rapists not to rape?
Did You Know: APPROXIMATELY 4/5 OF ASSAULTS ARE COMMITTED BY SOMEONE KNOWN to the victim?
Believe it or not, most rapes are committed by someone close to the victim…about 4 out of 5! Many are in your circles and have direct access to you as friends, coworkers, family members, spouses, classmates, teammates — all across a multitude of professions. Rapists don’t have a specific “look” or name or career. And men can be rape victims as well, don’t get it twisted. We have the image in our heads of someone lurking in a dark alley (which also happens) but in reality there are rapists right in plain sight. A whopping 47 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
Now let’s revisit those phrases, shall we? And just imagine that a person coming forward is either you, your mother, your father, your aunt, your uncle, your sister, your brother, your niece, your nephew, your daughter, your son, your friend, your wife or your husband.
Would they still apply?