Friday, July 19, 2024

When It’s Not Victim Shaming.

January 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Health & Wellness, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( No one has the right to hurt you, and put your person in jeopardy. No one has the right to terrorize you. None of us should have to live life in fear of being raped, and assaulted. Those of us that have survived sexual assault understand it is a nightmare that leaves life long scars. With this understanding we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, and teach our children to do the same. It is unfortunate that what “should” be is simply not reality. We must continue to change that existence while acknowledging where our society is. There are those that victim shame, and that is never okay. Yet, we have to know the difference between victim shaming, and being told what we might have to do in order to do all we can to avoid becoming victims. Before you get alarmed there is a similar discussion you might want to consider.

Black parents have to have a different discussion, as we know, with our children about the police. We can explain to them that their race should not make them targets by the police. We teach them to comply immediately, even though we know that won’t always, because it’s the best they can do to try and make it home to us safely. Some parents go as far as banning their children from wearing certain articles of clothes so that they don’t draw attention to themselves. The bottom line is we should not have to do this.

They aren’t criminals…they are American citizens, but we can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that some officers will seem them as criminals simply because they are black, we have several examples to give them when they feel we re being to protective, or making them feel like they can’t be themselves. No, they shouldn’t have to have extra precautions with law enforcement, but the reality of our society requires it. When something goes wrong with the police we immediately begin asking questions about compliance, and combing through the incident to see what must we add to the list of things that might prevent this encounter. We should not have to do this…but we do. The goal is to get our kids, and loved ones, home safely every evening with the least about of scars.

It is not victim shaming to bring this same mentality into play when we talk to our children, and loved ones, about ways to protect themselves, as best as possible, from sexual assault. Yes, you should be able to wear whatever you want without any human being laying a single hand on you. You should be able to drink, and have fun in public without worrying about someone assaulting you. You should not have to think of precautions to remove yourself as a target as best you can. We must continue fighting to make this should the reality, but the current truth is there are many predators in the world and we must be vigilant. What you should be able to do, and what you have to do will not always align, and until they do you must try to make the best choices possible to try to ensure your safety. We know it won’t always work…but just as we tell our children regarding police brutality, you must try.

Those of us that have experienced sexual assault will never be the same, I for one urge women to be safe. The rapist is always wrong! I must do all I can to try to avoid such an evil. I remember being assaulted, and knowing it wasn’t my fault while acknowledging maybe I shouldn’t have been where I was. That is a hard duality, and it isn’t me shaming myself as a victim…its me telling the truth. In that truth I may be able to avoid that environment in the future. A part of my healing was taking ownership of my own safety. I know it’s not fail proof…but I’m determined to will the power to try verses merely knowing what should be. Those that victim shame ought to be ashamed of themselves, but there are some that just want you to be safe…they aren’t shaming you to say the world sucks but please try these measures for your sake because we do care.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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