Trigger Warning: The Stigma of Sexual Assault
What the "Me Too" movement hasn't addressed.
A young woman confided in me a couple of years ago that she had been sexually assaulted. She didn’t want anyone to know and didn’t want to pursue anything against the perpetrator.
I watch her social media daily and see that she is struggling. Probably not in a way that is visible to most. I can see the pain behind her eyes. The pain that is so deeply embedded in your soul that it flows out from behind your mask. I’m afraid for her.
The perpetrator I see daily on social media, too, is living his best life. I imagine that she didn’t want to pursue it for many reasons. It may have spoiled “her brand.” He’s a rising star, and she makes her living making stars rise, so likely too risky from a business perspective. But what about from a human perspective? What about all the pain she is holding?
I was a victim of sexual assault. I choose not to pursue it. I blamed myself for what happened to me. I had invited this person into my home, and they betrayed my trust. Yet, I blamed myself for what happened. I carried that around, never speaking of it or accepting that I had been taken advantage of. My husband was the first person that I told.
What was the survivor doing when the crime occurred?
48% were sleeping or performing another activity at home
29% were traveling to and from work or school, or traveling to shop or run errands
12% were working
7% were attending school
5% were doing an unknown or other activity
We had gone out one night, and the person who assaulted me was inside the event. The anxiety his presence elicited was shocking since so much time had passed. I remember going into the bathroom to vomit. I didn’t have the courage to tell my husband, then boyfriend, until days later. Even after telling him, I still didn’t deal with it meaningfully. I packed it back up and hid it behind my consciousness.
Everyone is affected by sexual assault:
Every 68 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).
About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated or found strong evidence to indicate that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.
A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims under 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are aged 12-17.
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