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Our Treatment of Sexual Assault Victims is at a Cultural Tipping Point

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Last updated on February 14, 2023

According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, every 68 seconds somebody is sexually assaulted in the United States of America – that person being a child. And at one point, I was one of those children, in one of those 9-minute increments. You don’t know who else was one as well. It may have been anyone around you. When somebody comes forward with their story of anguish, unspeakable trauma, and abuse, we must support and guide those members of our community instead of defining them by the worst thing that’s happened to them or asking questions about the victim’s lifestyle leading up to the violence. 

Sexual assault is a worldwide issue. It affects all of our communities, our lives in some way or another, and our institutions of learning. 25 out of 1,000 convicted perpetrators face jail time. Only 25 out of 1,000 [RAINN]. Those who have suffered sexual violence have a heightened chance of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other complications and mental disorders in life. Nobody deserves to go through any sort of violence, least of all sexual violence.

And after that, nobody deserves to be ridiculed for their choices leading up to their assault. Instead of asking why somebody went with their attacker, why they trusted them, and why they wearing what they were wearing, we should ask: why did the attacker prey on their vulnerability? Why did they feel the need to harass, abuse, and violate somebody that had trusted them? For example, if somebody got hit by a car, or had their wallet stolen, we would not question what they had been through. We would offer immediate sympathy. So what, other than “severity of the crime” is the difference?

We have arrived at a cultural tipping point in our treatment of victims. What are we going to do about it, and how can this impact our future? 

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