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Rape Myths & Victim Blaming
Q. "Well, she shouldn't have been there in the first place!"
A. Victim Blaming ~ a statement that carries a value judgment and implies that the woman who is sexually assaulted is somehow responsible for anticipating, causing, or stopping the violence; consider the fact that these same statements applied to victims of most other crimes (mugging for example) would be considered absurd.
Victim blaming conveniently shifts responsibility for the crime onto the victim and away from the offender. We cannot address sexualized assault when we focus our attention on what she was doing, where she was, who she was with, what she was wearing rather than on the offender's actions and choices. No matter how often women are told to stay sober, stay away from strange men, buddy up, dress conservatively, don't walk the park at night, women are raped. Even when women say "no", they are raped. Rape prevention rests in the offender's actions, not her safety plan.
Q. "10 Rape Prevention Tips" - parody puts victim blaming into perspective:
1. Don't put drugs in women's drinks.
2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her
3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken
down, remember not to rape her.
4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don't rape
5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest
course of action is to not rape her.
6. Never creep into a woman's home through an unlocked
door or window, or spring out at her from between
parked cars, or rape her.
7. Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their
laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone
in a laundry room.
8. Use the buddy system! If it is inconvenient for you to
stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to
accompany you at all times.
9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find you are about to rape
someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop
10. Don't forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a
woman out on a date, don't pretend that you are
interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you
intend to be raping her later. If you don't communicate
your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that
you do not plan to rape her.
What is Sexualized Assault?
...a physical assault that is acted out sexually.
Sexualized assault is a general term that includes: rape, incest, child molestation, marital rape, date rape, sexual harassment, sodomy, sexual abuse, voyeurism, and indecent exposure. It is a violent act committed primarily by a perpetrator who needs to feel powerful and in control by forcing someone else to participate in unwanted sexualized activity. Persons of any age, race, gender orientation, socio-economic status, persons with dis/abilities or street-involved lifestyles are vulnerable to sexualized violence. Sexualized violence is not an expression of sexuality. Women can be sexually assaulted by other women. Men can be sexually assaulted by women or other men. Sexualized violence is not part of a healthy respectful sexual relationship between mutually consenting partners. It is a crime, and it is against the law for one spouse to force the other to engage in sexualized activity.
Do I Have to Talk About It?
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that may interrupt your life at home, work, or school, affecting your relationships with your intimate partner, friends, family, or co-workers.The reassurance and support from people in your life is very important during this time, but their reaction to your experience may not be what you anticipate or would like it to be. They will react in different ways; some may express blame, others may give you their full support. If you feel ready, those who offer their support, including professional counselors, can aid you in your recovery process. But the decision to talk about your experience is a personal choice. You do not have to share your experience with anyone until you feel ready.
I Feel Like It's My Fault
Most sexualized assaults are planned. Often, the victim fears for his or her life or physical well-being and feels that there is no choice but to do what the offender wants. But submission does not equal consent. If you submit, it does not mean that you agreed to or accepted the situation. A victim is never responsible for being sexually assaulted. The responsibility for the assault lies with the offender.
If you have been sexually assaulted,
it is not your fault.
Do I Have to Report It?
You have survived a trauma, and now you can begin to recover. Although this process is often slow and confusing, with understanding and persistence you can accomplish a great deal. You have control over how you recover. One of the most important decisions you may struggle with is whether or not to report the crime to the police. People who know and love you may struggle with your choice to report or not. Choosing to report a sexualized crime is your right as a survivor. Whether or not you decide to make a statement to the RCMP, you deserve support and should know about the range of services available to you.
Support Services Society
Sexual Assault Advocacy Centre
Crime Victim Assistance