Let me start by saying that I agree that talking about sexual assault is hard. I get that. I really do. It’s not fun reading about someone waking up in an emergency room to find out she was used sexually by someone she didn’t even know while she was passed out. It’s not enjoyable to tell about being raped. It’s not my favorite thing to do by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s important.
When parents can “stand behind” their son by claiming he did not commit violence after he was seen by two witnesses raping an unconscious woman, I need to talk about this more.
When judges can deem a six month sentence appropriate for a rape conviction, I need to talk more about this.
When debates can be had about if a victim should bear responsibility for her rape, I need to keep telling my story.
While survivors of sexual assault are holding in their pain and anger, I need to keep tackling this subject.
While there are people growing up and learning how to navigate relationships, I need to keep educating.
So, while I agree that the subjects of sexual assault and rape are not comfortable, I don’t agree that that is a reason to be quiet. Instead, I see all of these reasons to stand up, support others, and encourage education.
I think most people who ask me why I’m so vocal about such a difficult subject, inquire because they know it’s difficult. I don’t think they really want to shush me. But that’s what they’re asking when it all boils down – to pretty please not bring up this uncomfortable subject, because it makes them squirmy or frustrated or sick or scared. Imagine, if you will, what it would be like if we didn’t address it, then.
Quite honestly, I wish we lived in a world where common sense prevailed, no (in any form) was enough to mean no, and people didn’t have to worry about flirting turning into rape. But we don’t. The world we exist in isn’t even close.
So, I’ll continue to stand up. I’ll continue to speak up. I’ll continue to write out loud. My hope is that when you realize that being uncomfortable with this topic is perhaps the very reason we need to talk about it more and more and more, you’ll share my posts, talk with friends, educate your kids.
Let’s talk about how drinking alcohol is not an excuse to touch anyone who doesn’t want to be touched. Let’s talk about how making out with someone is not an invitation to sex. Let’s talk about body language (stiffening or relaxing shoulders, for example) and non-word verbal cues (like happy moans or scared screams) can be perfectly clear clues to whether or not someone is consenting to what’s going on. Let’s talk about how no one owns anyone’s body accept the person living in that body. Let’s take this uncomfortable subject and make it part of our regular conversations so much so that the only people who feel uncomfortable about it are those trying to get away with sexually assaulting some one. Let’s talk more and more and more.
So…do you see why I have to keep talking about this? Will you stand up and speak up with me? Will you?