Friday afternoon, I am feeling good about myself. You know that feeling of contentment where, the child is asleep, your house isn’t a total disaster and that giant cup of hot chocolate in your hand, necessitated by the need to up the milk supply and this rainy cold November weather is hitting the spot just right? Do you know that feeling? No? Alright, my standards for a good Friday afternoon are quite low.
Anyway, my feeling of contentment and I decide to catch up on the latest happenings on Twitter. At first, nothing major, just the usual, a joke here and there, some politics, inspirational posts…but something isn’t right. This thread grabs my attention. Like any normal Twitter user, I dig further, some prominent actor is being accused of sexual impropriety. Before I know it, I am lost in a sea of tweets and I can barely remember where I started. The allegations of Sexual assault in the entertainment industry have been coming in like torrential rains, now, same allegations were happening here! In my country! I was shocked.
Twitter though, and in particular KOT, doesn’t let you hold one emotion for too long, soon my shock turned into disgust and anger in quick succession. What was this I was reading? Victim shaming, rape justification and derogatory language against women, from both men and women. The number of rape apologists willing to voice their opinions was disheartening.
Now, I shall not put into question whether this guy is guilty or not, but the whole approach we have as people towards assault has got to change. I don’t know how many times I can say this but I will keep saying it: assault is never and can never be the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter how you dissect the issue, what microscope you put it under or what the circumstances are. Assault is never and can never be the victims fault. The time period in which one chooses to speak up about it doesn’t lessen the severity of the act, the platform they choose to speak on it does not lessen the severity and neither does it matter if they choose to voice it themselves or do so behind someone or an institution they trust.
what was she doing there at that hour?
why did she dress like that?
why did she talk like that?
you did what you needed to do she had it coming.
you are betraying the bro code by speaking against a fellow man
you are a man, you can’t possibly be assaulted by a woman
she’s too pretty to be guilty of assaulting a man
have no place in this society. Don’t you realize that this attitude and the name calling is what makes the victims choose to stay silent?
Check your attitude, and choose your words wisely. These also count as assault. Put yourself in their position, whether you are male or female, if you were to be assaulted, how would you feel if people still assaulted you further for speaking up? Words have power, check yours!
To all survivors of abuse/assault, I stand with you. Do what you need to do to get yourself out of the situation. Seek help from family, friends or support groups. If/when you choose to talk about it, do it in whatever form you feel most at ease with, be it through the mainstream media, social media, behind someone or an organization, shouting from the roof tops…whatever you are most comfortable with.