Taking responsibility for sexual abuse

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 “Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.”   – Kurt Cobain

The issue of sexual assault first attracted my attention earlier this year when there was a profusion of sexual assault cases in my area. I heard in the news that literally just around the corner from where I live a woman had been sexually assaulted at 8pm at night. Then suddenly another story hits the news cycle where another woman was sexually assaulted at 6am in the morning, again not far from my home. Coming from a relatively safe area where most things are walking distance this posed as a shock.

For the next month or so women in my area were urged by police to be careful on the streets. But at 8pm, seriously? Sometimes I’m only getting home from a day at work or university at that time. I feel like as a woman I should not have to be worried coming home at such an early hour of the night.

Suddenly my life started to revolve around this; I was paying for taxis to just go up the street and was changing my schedule to avoid coming home late.

I started to do some research into the topic and was surprised to find that this was only a small proportion of the issue and that more than 70% of sexual assault cases are committed by someone the victim knows, generally in a safe familiar location. This for me was scarier.

Sexual assault cases hit the news frequently and never fail to involve some form of victim blaming – “what did she expect after drinking that much?”

But I ask myself, is it supporting rape culture when reminding women not to drink and leave themselves vulnerable?

Do not drink, do not wear revealing clothing, do not walk alone at night. Women are told on the daily how to not get assaulted when really these statements are all big fat lies.

I’m not saying women should not be aware and careful. You can check out my posts on how to date safe and how to avoid drink spiking which are very important for all women to know. But women should always know it is never their fault. Period. No matter what the situation is.  Stranger abuse or relationship abuse.

The conversation has to change.

The truth behind these myths needs to be uncovered.

We need to stop the silence.

-CD

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