It’s been a week since I posted on here. Why? Life. It happens. I interviewed for a job and have a second interview this week. The kids created games and we played them. I didn’t win any of them. (I think it’s a conspiracy.) I read a book. Meals were made. Chores were done. Life happened.
But, more than that, I felt the intensity of my last post. I know it was a big one. I know it might have left some of you feeling gut-punched. Maybe others blew it off – no one you know could sexually assault someone, right? Or maybe you’ve been revisiting awkward hugs, innuendos that felt creepy rather than funny, and starting a list of who might be an offender in your life. That weight can sneak up on you when you start counting on your fingers and realize that you do know a rapist or someone who molested a child or someone who sexually assaulted you or someone you know.
It’s a lot.
And that’s the real reason it’s been seven days. I was breathing. I was letting you breathe. But here’s another reality…according to a survey done by the U.S. Department of Justice, a sexual assault occurs every 107 seconds in the United States. While we were breathing and digesting that last post, 5,652 people were assaulted.
And that’s only the assaults on people aged twelve years or older.
Here’s the good news, that number is half of what it was three years ago. I’m going to choose not to get knocked over by that staggering fact and all that it means about the more that ten thousand folks who were sexually assaulted annually in the past. Instead, I’m going to rejoice over the fact that prevention is possible! Something is working!
Yes, it’s hard to talk about, but we’re talking about it. Yes, stepping into ‘not my business’ at a bar can be awkward, but we’re doing it. Let’s keep it going! Let’s keep debunking myths about who rapists are. Let’s keep believing victims. Let’s keep blaming the assailants and supporting survivors. Let’s shrink that number more and more.
And while we’re keeping at all this good stuff, let’s not forget the 5,652 who were victimized this past week. Because they’re probably doing the same thing I was this week – just trying to breathe.
More statistics and help for survivors can be found at http://www.rainn.org.