I don’t usually write about things here unless they’re related to Paganism/Spirituality, but something happened over the weekend that moved me to not only write this on my Facebook profile, but to share it here as well.
*I just want to say that there may be some triggers here for anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted.*
If you’ve been anywhere near a computer the last few years, you’ve heard that Bill Cosby has had a myriad of sexual assault charges levied against him by scores of women. He had his trial and the jury spent the last 5 days deliberating, only to end in a hung jury. I’m not here to tell you what I think about his guilt/innocence. What I want to talk about briefly is that we live in a culture where a woman who accuses someone of rape is ignored, if not called a liar outright. This isn’t anything new. This has been going on for…ever.
Even today, I was reading a news article that talked about the mistrial and one of the commenters said, “These ladies were adults not kids. You don’t come back 20 or 30 years later and decide you want to do something about it !!!!”
As if it’s not hard enough being raped…
As if it’s not hard enough to deal with that truth…
As if it’s not hard enough living in a world where a woman having sex out of wedlock is still seen as a whore, as promiscuous…
As if all of this wasn’t enough, we women are expected to just put that trauma aside as soon as it happens in order to march ourselves into a police station full of strangers, grab the nearest police officer and recount what is probably one of the hardest things to admit, as a woman.
To say to someone you know who is a dear friend, or to say to a family member, “I was raped,” is not easy. Right or wrong, it’s demoralizing, humiliating and not a little scary. It’s scary because there’s always a chance that even those that love you the most won’t believe you.
“Are you sure you said no?”
“What were you wearing?”
“Were you drunk?”
Those questions come from people who are friends and family.
Now imagine having that conversation with someone you don’t know at all, in a cold police station, trying to recount every miniscule fact and detail… trying to get it right so that it doesn’t look like you’re lying later on if you remember something you didn’t tell them in the beginning.
“These ladies were adults not kids. You don’t come back 20 or 30 years later and decide you want to do something about it !!!!”
It took me 3 years to tell and when I did finally open my mouth it was in a letter I immediately mailed, just to make sure I didn’t chicken out. I won’t go into the details of what happened after that, but believe me when I tell you it would shock you completely to know how I was treated afterwards.
I get it though. There are a lot of people in the world (men and women) who lie to get attention, to make money through lawsuits, to get revenge and some just for the hell of it. I get it. It’s hard to know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. That shouldn’t matter though.
If someone comes to you telling you they were raped, whether it happened the night before or 50 years before, you MUST believe them. We must trust them. We must. We can’t let even one more woman suffer in silence, alone, and lost just because she MIGHT be lying. We have got to stop blaming women for being raped/sexually assaulted. We’ve got to stop accusing them of lying about it and we’ve got to start building up trust again, because the number of women who don’t report their rapists is huge.
Every 98 seconds someone is raped in America
882 a day.
6,174 a week.
321,930 a year.
91% of rapes aren’t reported.
Let me say that last one again: 91% of rapes aren’t reported
1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of a rape or an attempted rape.
Most of these rapes are from someone you know.
***I don’t care if you think he did it or not. This isn’t about Cosby. This isn’t even about his particular accusers. I write this for the woman alone who never told anyone she was raped, who is afraid to walk out her front door for fear of being raped again or running into her rapist again.***