We like to think of rapists as scary strangers. In truth, though, they are often charming…and often known to their victims.
And, so, it stands to reason that if victims know their attackers…so do you. I guarantee you know someone who’s been sexually assaulted, even if you don’t know that you do. Which makes it fairly likely that you might know a few people who have tried to perpetrate an attack someone else – or who have succeeded.
I know, I know. It’s a scary thought. I mean, I knew the guy who raped me, but it didn’t occur to me until a few years ago that I probably know others too. But then I thought about it. There was a friend in high school that accused a mutual male friend of ours of raping her. And there was the father of a friend who went to jail for having sex with his step-daughter. And there was a guy early in our marriage that flirted with all the ladies, harmlessly we all thought. But then he tried to kiss me and I found out he did that to others as well. I don’t know if he was anything more than creepy, but I don’t know that he wasn’t either.
When I really considered it, I came up with more people than I would have previously thought, that I know, that have perpetrated sexual assaults on others. And those are just the ones I know of.
Now, I don’t want you to start looking at everyone as though they’re capable of this evil. However, some people are. I tell you this so that maybe you’ll look at the scene on the dance floor at the bar a little differently. Perhaps that charming guy from the office who offers to look after your friend (who’s really enjoying his attentiveness) so you can go home with your date isn’t so honorable after all. Maybe when your sister tells you about the experience she had with your cousin you’ll believe her first and foremost rather than question her story because, “Nah, I can’t believe he’d do that.” Maybe he can and did. People do. And they’re often people we know. According to RAINN, 82% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by non-strangers.
So, be aware. That’s all.
There are people around us that will take advantage of a situation and assault, molest, or rape. I guess I just thought that needed to be typed out loud rather than whispered about or ignored completely. And now it has been.
To drive my point home a little more, here’s this video that came across my news feed yesterday. Its the true story of a woman who married a man she’d known for 20 years. Months later he sexually assaulted her 15 year old daughter. The story is heartbreaking and infuriating on many levels. But the thing I’d like you to pay the most attention to are all the pictures she shows of him and the facts she shares. He isn’t a scary stranger. He is a friendly, fun, responsible member of society. He’s a father, a loyal son, a good friend. He served in the military and was employed as a police officer. He’s a sex offender.
So as scary as this subject is, as gut-wrenching as it is to think of people we know as rapists or molesters, talk about the chance of it being true…because it’s a good chance! Share the video and/or share this post…but share. Talk. Discuss. Say it out loud: strangers aren’t sexually assaulting people we love, it’s people we know…but maybe not as well as we thought.