But, I Didn't Ask For It
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Politics and Activism

But, I Didn't Ask For It

The ugly truth behind victim blaming.

But, I Didn't Ask For It
Killing the Breeze

"I don't need you to feel sorry for me. I just need you to understand."

This sentence has become synonymous with the telling of my story. See, I'm a survivor of sexual assault. A badge that is worn by many woman and men, especially of the college age bracket.

My story doesn't differ much from the ones you see on the news. A sweet, smooth talking, southern boy says all the right words and gets the young and naïve girl to trust him. Then things go south. Quickly. You've heard the story a million times, so I'll save the gory details. What I will tell you, is about the contact I had afterwards with my not-so-kind friend, victim blaming.

Three months passed before I got up the nerve to tell anyone about what happened to me. I was afraid of what people would say about me. Afraid of what people would think about me. I mean, my own thoughts about what happened were pretty dark and scary so I knew the feedback from others would be so much worse.

My first step was telling my parents and my two roommates. Lucky enough for me, each of those conversations was met with an overwhelming feeling of love and support. The conversations after that, were what bothered me the most.

As I began my long and drawn out hike up the hill of justice, I met that pesky friend I mentioned earlier by the name of victim blaming. The replies to my stories turned from supportive comments to degrading questions.

"What were you wearing that night?"

"Your clothes must have been revealing."

"Are you sure you said no?"

"Maybe you led him on."

"Were you drinking?"

"You were probably drunk and you just don't remember saying yes."

"I mean, why did you even get in the car with him?"

"You should have known better."

"Why didn't you just leave?"

"Why did this happen to you?"

That was a good question. Why did this happen to me? I wasn't drinking. I was dressed modestly. The guy I went out with wasn't a stranger. So, why did this happen to me?

I went on thinking like this for longer than I'd like to admit. By saying that I didn't deserve to be sexually assaulted because I wasn't drinking and my apparel covered everything, was the equivalent of saying that a girl who had been drinking and who was dressed less modestly than I, deserved what happened to me more than I did. After all, that's what society had taught me.

This is where a change has to be made. People as a whole need to completely modify the way they view the victims of sexual assault. Society says that only girls get sexually assaulted. More specifically, girls who wear tight clothing, like to drink, and have a somewhat promiscuous sexual history. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

You see, getting sexually assaulted has nothing to do with the victims actions, nor does it reflect upon their character in any way. The only person that this heinous crime reflects upon, is indeed, the perpetrator. No person, no regardless of their race, sexual orientation, religion, drinking habits, or sexual history deserves to be sexually assaulted.

I challenge you today to rise above the standards and beliefs set before you by society, and think in a more informed manner. In the time we live in, sexual assault is becoming an epidemic. We need to become a more supportive society so that victims feel safe incoming forward and more sex criminals can be put behind bars.

So the next time you hear of someone being sexually assaulted, don't blame them, try saying "I believe you. How can I help?"

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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