Sexual assault. Rape. Victim. These are dark, heavy words. Ones that you hope will never surround you or your loved ones. However; often, they do. Sexual assault is horrifically common and affects everyone, not just the victim. Recently, a lot of survivors have either come forward about their experiences or issued allegations against their rapists. These declarations, especially those concerning celebrities or politicians, are bound to attract lots of attention and opinions. It’s extremely fortunate that in the wake of the Me Too movement, there is a vast amount of support and understanding for these victims. However, as always with these sort of “taboo” topics such as rape, there are a number of controversies surrounding sexual assault allegations. Because there are people who hold a firm stance that we shouldn’t believe survivors, many sexual assault victims will end up not reporting or sharing their stories and experiences to authorities and the public. Often, society ends up pinning the blame on the victim and shaming them for it. Often used phrases and “excuses” include something along the lines of saying that the victim most likely deserved it, either from wearing certain clothes or acting a certain way. Having a society in which some members have a mindset such as this is incredibly dangerous and harmful. As mentioned before, thankfully, there have been several steps taken in the right direction. More than ever, in the past couple of years survivors have come forward, paving the way for movements that allow awareness to be spread. As discussing this topic becomes more normalized, it lends opportunity to properly inform today’s youth of the harm sexual assault can cause and of how important consent is and boundaries are. The broadened education of sexual assault awareness will hopefully lower the rates of these occurrences in future generations. These movements are also beneficial to survivors by allowing them to gain back a part of themselves that was taken. Movement. Believer. Survivor. These are good, powerful words. Words that represent the people of a society that are desperate for a change.
By Emma Weisz