Hello all, today I wanted to discuss a sensitive topic that I have always wanted to discuss about on my blog but I’ve decided now is the time for me to speak about it and spread some awareness.
“Sexual assault is when a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or when a person, male or female, touches another person sexually without their consent.”
Crown Prosecution Services
I feel that if anybody partakes any form of sexual advance/conduct without any given consent then you have assaulted that person and from what I know it’s a punishable crime by law. People should learn how to respect the boundaries of others and not assume that it’s okay for you to do whatever you are doing especially when one has made it clear that they are not comfortable with said contact and approach.
One of my pet peeves is the art of victim blaming and trying to rationalise the action of the abuser and perpetrator by dissecting what the victim did to possibly provoke such actions. This needs to stop because instead of trying to seek justice for the victim you are now attempting to invalidate their experience hence absolving the perpetrator of all responsibility. Stop asking questions like what they were wearing or why they were doing there and begin to ask why the abuser is acting like they are entitled to touch someone without their consent. I sense that this art of victim blaming is also done under the guise of false accusations. I’m not going to be obtuse and say that false accusations don’t occur against innocent people (which should be punishable by law as well). However, many cases are not reported due to fear of not being believed or because the perpetrator has some form of status and power thereby you don’t want to potentially go up against them. I feel that if one takes advantage of their position and lording that over someone’s head when they reject said advances that’s trash.
I just find it nonsensical that as a woman I potentially have to sacrifice and pet a harasser’s ego so much in order to not provoke them instead of them just abandoning said entitlement. When I leave my house no matter how I am dressed or who I am with I don’t expect to be touched in any way I have not consented. Also, I certainly should not have to worry about my safety because someone thinks it’s okay to invade my personal space and disregard my boundaries.
Another pet peeve of mine is when people are quick to attempt to justify the action of the perpetrator. By doing so, you are creating an environment for enabling such people to continue with their actions because according to them there will be no consequences and that they are entitled to such. It’s almost massaging and feeding their entitlement which was very evident in the Surviving R Kelly documentary series as his behaviour was allowed to continue for decades. Even though the documentary was met with a mostly unanimous feeling disgust, I also witnessed some commentary where his victims (predominantly the young girls) were labelled as “fast”. This really shouldn’t be the case because R Kelly is/was a big big man that should not be looking in the direction of young underage girls in the first place. It even makes me livid that as black women we are not believed in these sorts of circumstances even when there is a mass uprising of black women coming forward against one person especially an individual in a position of power and influence.
There needs to more spaces for victims to speak up openly without feeling they will be judged instead of being asked nonsensical questions surrounding their circumstances. I am aware of many support lines and centres that do so and all I can do is applaud them however within the community a whole lot needs to be done because this is how those who are respected and revered are able to get away with their actions because nobody wants to check them but instead blame the victims. No matter what setting whether in the church, on social media or at your workplace start holding these abusers accountable for their criminal actions. I’m honestly grateful for movements like #MeToo which allowed women and men to come forward and share their ordeals and finally speak up and be open.
As a woman who first faced sexual assault as a 10-year-old girl at the hands of a family friend, this topic really hits home for me. I put it to the back of my mind for many years after it occurred and it was only until recently I started confiding in my close friends about it that I realised what happened was absolutely wrong and totally not my fault. I should have never been in such position in the first place. It scares and upsets me knowing that a majority of women I know have experienced a form of sexual assault, sexual harassment and even rape at some point in their lives and the fact that many don’t speak up about it they just internalise it to the point that they become desensitised to it.
There also seems to be blurred lines when it comes to consent. Interpreting signals or saying they were going off signals will not suffice. As in no means no if you cannot hear a solid yes please don’t proceed. No doesn’t mean they are playing hard to get so please respect boundaries and wishes. The moment one says no you respect their wishes simple as that.
We need to do better in tackling this problem and providing a safe space for victims to speak up so that this can be tackled accordingly.
Until next time