TRIGGER WARNING: This post will contain talk of topics such as sexual abuse and rape. If you are uncomfortable reading about these things then I would advise not continuing.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of victims of sexual abuse being the ones who are struggling and shamed. I didn’t want to be sexist in this post, and imply that only women can be abused or raped, however, a lot of this post is going to be touching on the male attacking female scenario. This is because it is something I relate to myself, and it is also where we have the biggest issue with how society see’s it all.
Just to clarify, any one can be a victim of sexual abuse. It is not okay to think you have the right to another persons body. Ever.
What is wrong with the way we view sexual abuse?
Where do I even begin?! Throughout my entire life, women have been judged for being victims. There is always negativity and criticism towards women who have been abused which I do not get. For years, men have walked around thinking that they have a right to women’s bodies or to make women uncomfortable.
I have never had a night out for example, where a really drunken man hasn’t either grabbed hold of me (and I don’t just mean a playful butt grab, I mean like, physically holding me hard and not letting go), or has cornered me and made me uncomfortable and not taking no for an answer.
This sort of behaviour is not okay. But when we as women, become victims, somehow, it’s our fault.
Here are some examples and real life reflections on the judgment that’s out there for being a victim of sexual abuse or rape;
She was dressed inappropriately. Right okay, so a girl has her legs and chest out a bit and that makes you think she deserves to be raped? No, absolutely not, fuck off. Women should be allowed to wear what they want and be proud of their bodies without men being perverted and making them feel unsafe.
She went to his house. Oh I’m sorry, so anyone who enters my house I have the right to just abuse? Can you see where I’m going with this? There are so many things wrong with how we view sexual abuse.
She was gagging for it, she was naked in my room, she had been teasing me all night. Jeez I could go on and on with all the petty excuses that are used for why people think they have a right to someone’s body.
We should be addressing that men think they have rights to women’s bodies for stupid reasons and it needs to stop.
We should be changing the conversations from ‘women should do this to feel safe’ to men, stop being pathetic excuses for human beings and ask a girl if she is happy for you to touch or have sex with her!!
We should be providing support for every human being out there who says they have been abused or raped, and not implying that their actions are the reason it happened.
But as always, we’re falling on deaf ears, women have to do all the work to feel safe while men think they have a right to just shove their penis in whoever they like. It’s not okay.
We have a long way to go before we overcome this obstacle, but there are a few things we can all start doing to change the conversation and the outcome.
If you are dating someone, or hooking up – pay close attention to what they are saying and doing. Ask them if they’re okay for you to touch them, sleep with them etc. Please, please don’t make the assumption that they’re just okay with it because they’re with you. As human beings we have the right to change our minds at any moment and people need to be okay with that.
Keep your distance from other people walking late at night, don’t try and get up close or overtake someone else as you could be scaring them even more.
Always keep an eye on your drinks if you’re out, drink spiking is still a big thing. If you see anyone spiking then say something, report them.
Encourage people to report an attack. Don’t give them the ‘oh it’s your word against theirs’ ‘no one will believe you’ statements. Sometimes, even if someone chooses not to report something in the end, just knowing they have support if they do and that someone believes them is all that matters.
Also, if someone is a constant offender, the more times they’re reported the more likely they will get sorted. I do however, completely understand why it’s not easy to report those things, and I respect anyone’s decision who doesn’t do it.
Whatever you do, do not make a victim feel like they should have done something differently to stop the attack happening.
This is SO important. It doesn’t matter what someone was wearing, if they knew the person, where they were, what is important here is that the attacker should have never done it. Period. We need to start focusing on putting the blame on the attacker, not the victim.
It’s not attention seeking to share your story of abuse. It’s not ‘asking for it’ if you wear a crop top or short skirt. It isn’t compulsory that if you’re in a relationship you have to have sex on demand.
It is important though, that you never act like or imply that you have the right to abuse someone else’s body.