In the last few months I have had the incredible opportunity to speak with many survivors of sexual abuse. What I had no idea was that the majority of women that I have spoken with never charged their perpetrators. This is key for those who question why so many women have come out of the woodwork and named their abusers after perhaps years of silence. Let’s break down the why’s…
- The shame. Sexual assault, especially for those who were assaulted as children can be such a shameful stigma that the victim stays silent. As the #metoo movement started, more and more women are finding their inner voice and recognizing the sins forced upon them are not their burden to own and the perpetrators need to take responsibility.
- Get over it. If it was that bad, why didn’t they say anything back when it happened? This is unfortunately a question brought up by people who have a lack of understanding of the psychology that this kind of trauma leaves the victim feeling yet further violated. No wonder so many people stay quiet. It is hard enough facing the trauma, but can be even harder when the world around you, your only sense of refuge judges you harshly for crimes committed upon you. It’s not your fault and you can speak out whenever you find the strength… your healing is not the publics time line expectations.
- She/He is just attention seeking/ looking for a cash pay out. You don’t need to go through an interview from the public eye to decide your self worth as to whether you have the right to charge your perpetrator or stay silent. If someone discovered they knew the identity of a serial killer who laid dormant for a decade would the public judge as to whether or not this person was doing this for the right reasons or would the public be grateful. In my most humble opinion, the public would be grateful.
- The reality is it takes incredible courage to speak out. What some people don’t realize is that survivors of sexual assault also have a part of them that dies. The death continues with societies messages. Sexual assault shames and silences its victims. More and more survivors are coming out of the woodwork to name their abusers because we are talking and it is empowering others to feel less isolated and afraid of public scrutiny.
With each person who has opened up and shared their story, a light has been lit within their eyes. This light comes from a soul that had someone attempt to destroy the essence of who they are. Let’s cultivate this empowerment, not extinguish it through ignorance and judgement. Let’s keep talking!! We are empowering. The only way to stop the cycle is to speak out and put the accountability back on the ones who own it.. the perpetrators, until we do, they will continue to thrive through our silence.
Let’s keep talking