Ever since coming forward about my history with sexual violence, I’ve seemed to get a few questions on repeat. And though I have my go to answers if the audience either isn’t willing for me to take them down the rabbit hole or if I’m not up for the excursion, it still never gets easier to answer when a grumpy old man asks “well honey, boys have their needs too. You must have been wearing something tight to show off that young body” and you just want to scream, “No, you senile old man, I said no. That should have been enough” but you have to be polite because, well, old people.
The most common questions I get are often “Well, what were you wearing?”, “Why didn’t you trust your gut?” and “How do you feel about mandatory minimum sentencing for rape and sexual violence?” I’ll break these down below.
When someone asks “What were you wearing?” or something to that effect, they’re expecting to me respond with “Oh, something slutty”. They’re usually hoping that they can simplify an assault down to what I was wearing, as if that justifies that at all. So usually, people are surprised when I answer “A knee length dress, flats, and a blazer, not like it matters.”
Why didn’t you trust your gut? When I was trying to leave, I asked for water and was in the middle of calling a cab so I could get home safely. And it still happened. But usually I say “Trusting your gut isn’t always indicative of a violent assault, and I was in the middle of trying to leave”
And finally, the most challenging one to answer, How do you feel about mandatory minimum sentencing? To put it simply, hell yeah! The way our justice system views sexual assault and violence is absolutely absurd. Though there are laws and rules in place, it’s still immensely a gray area and up to the lawyers, judges, and juries to shift their perceived blame from the survivor to the perpetrator. And though I am all for putting these vile scumbags behind bars for life, I am also realistic and know that this will take time, it will take effort, and people’s minds don’t change overnight. It’s why you hear “he’s such a great swimmer, athelete, scholar, etc, This would ruin his life” more so than you hear “She deserves our empathy and help. This man took something from her she can never get back”.
At some point, I’ll make a post of how to spot rape culture in all its raging glory and how to combat it head on but this post is long enough. I’ll also create a post of the 10 most common questions I get that dives into my answers more so. Happy holidays everyone, hope you’re venturing into a safe environment, and if you aren’t, I am holding all the good faith and sending all the love your way.
You deserve a good life. You deserve to take up space. And you deserve to heal on your own terms.