It sickens me that we live in a world where sexual assault and rape culture are considered taboo in society. No woman should feel the need to hide what she has been through because of people’s stares and whispers. We need to start creating a safe, accepting, and supportive environment where women do not feel constantly judged for sharing their experiences. The #MeToo movement is a step in the right direction, but our society is still far off from where it should be. When a woman tells you her story, I want you to be supportive and respectful of what she went through. But most of all, I want you to believe her.
Because we live in a world where 120 million women have been forced into sexual acts, where only 230 out of every 1000 sexual assaults are reported, and a mere 46 of those 230 cases lead to an arrest. What type of world do we live in in which so many women, so many innocent girls are forced to live their lives in perpetual fear? Women shouldn’t have to live in a world in which rape jokes are cracked all the time, and robbery is considered a crime worse than sexual assault. Furthermore, sexual abuse is often blamed on the victim. She walked down the alley alone so it must be her fault. She wore a short skirt so it must be her fault. She accepted a drink from a stranger so it must be her fault. And we wonder why women feel embarrassed to tell their stories. It is crucial that we as a society change the way that we view sexual assault. Instead of teaching young girls to cover up and keep their heads down, we should be teaching boys to be respectful and understanding. So when a woman tells you her story, no matter if it is ten days after it happened or ten years, believe her. Because it requires strength and courage to be able to stand up, to speak out against the terrible actions that take place every single day. Remind her that it’s not her fault. Don’t blame her, blame her rapist.
Post written by guest writer and ambassador Vaishali Bansal