Stop the victim shaming!

I find the outcome of the Mullins case infuriating. She was raped at just 18, a virgin at the time and to this day is suffering. Saxon will never be the same again and it is something she will never forget. This is everything that is wrong with out society. He at least spent some time in jail, nowhere near enough time but it’s more than the majority of perpetrators.  Statistics say that only 3% of rapist are jailed, whilst only 2% made up their sexual assault. Yet people constantly question and doubt the victims. People may want to think about that next time some one decides to open up and to talk about their assault. It’s not something victims open up about often and they chose carefully who they open up to.  I find it very  disheartening knowing the majority of women are going to get no where when they report sexual assault. It has taken this publicly known case for people to be out raged and a discussion to begin.

The law taking the perpetrators side and society victim shaming is deeply ingrained in our society. In Saxon Mullin’s case she has been doubted, questioned ‘why did she get down on all fours’, ‘why didn’t she just say no’. She did repeatedly ask to go back inside. Why is she being the one being victim shamed? Why aren’t people asking ‘why did he act in such a disgusting and unacceptable manner’? After all he is in the wrong. It is an all too common scenario where the victim has suffered enough but society and even often those closest to them add even more suffering. I am absolutely gob smacked at the level of ignorance and victim shaming that I have witnessed in my life. I have experienced it to a bit myself. Often the first reaction to sexual assault is all about what the victim was doing, not doing. Where she was and what she was wearing. I’ve heard and witnessed things like ‘why is she bringing it up now’, ‘why did she give in’, ‘why didn’t she do more’, ‘why did she freeze’,  ‘she shouldn’t have been wearing what she wore’, ‘why was she at his house’. Based on this theory nearly every one would be raped at some point in their life  What the person is wearing and where they are is irrelevant. Clothes and locations don’t rape. It is the perpetrator who chooses to abuse.

People are becoming more aware about domestic violence, sexual assault and mental health. However it is too common for people to not even know what sexual assault or domestic violence really is or how trauma and mental health impacts people. There are a lot of common misconceptions and I wonder why every school and every work place doesn’t have mandatory training on these things? We need to move beyond awareness to education. No wonder victims suffer in silence. Why would people want to talk about their experience, why would they want to report it when it is likely they are going to be victim shamed and then 97% chance that nothing is going to come of it? Victims struggle enough with their own trauma and  beat themselves up enough with guilt, shame and wishing they had done something different. They don’t need any one else beating up on them. They are fighting to live like a normal person, feel a spark of happiness and regain a sense of self-worth. The trauma can take weeks, months or years and the struggle is real. Yet people try to constantly diminish their experience, diminish their trauma and how they are feeling. It is a very isolating experience. I have witnessed victim shaming of  women I know. Women I  who are seeing psychologists, counsellors and struggle to put on a happy face. It just makes me want to say a big FU to any one who has tried to minimise mine or any other person’s experience.  It is most likely you who lacks understanding and who is in need of being better educated about these things.  I’m passionate about this sort of stuff because I know what it’s like to suffer and I too often see this type of ignorance. I find the statics of sexual assault and domestic violence alarming and I have so much empathy for the people who have endured violent and traumatic experiences.  I feel for any one who has experienced any type of sexual assault or violence. Everyone’s experience may not be in a dark alley with a stranger like Saxon Mullin’s but it doesn’t mean it is not valid. Their experiences are still real, their feelings are valid and the perpetrators are the ones who are in the wrong. This is an opportunity to have a discussion about consent and why aren’t people (especially boys) better educated? Why is victim shaming and rape culture so acceptable? At the end of the day, every one has a right to say no. It doesn’t matter whether they know the person or not, it is still every single persons human right to say no.

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