An Open Letter To All Victims of Sexual Assault
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To All Victims of Sexual Assault

You are so much stronger than you think.

An Open Letter To All Victims of Sexual Assault

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the issue of sexual assault has been dragged to the forefront of our attention. And while hundreds of thousands of people, men and women alike, have bravely stepped forward to share their stories, just as many have watched, listened and waited, held by a continued fear of speaking out or the pain of their own traumatic memories.

So, to those of you who have experienced sexual assault, whether you are man or woman, whether you are adult or child, whether it was rape or sexual harassment, whether the attacker was a loved one or a random stranger, here is what I have to say.

It was not your fault. It doesn't matter if you vehemently denied it from the get-go, fought against the attacker with tooth and nail, or if you didn't know what to do and the attacker took advantage of your vulnerability. It was not your fault. No matter what the victim did or could have done, it is always the fault of the attacker. So please believe me when I say, that in the same way that it is not the fault of the murder victim but the murderer, that the sexual assault you experienced is not your fault but the attacker's.

And I am sorry.

I am so sorry for what has happened to you because it is atrocious. People may try to downplay it, to say that your experience is not as bad as someone else's, but one person having greater pain does not negate a lesser pain. It doesn't matter that someone else has experienced worse: What you experienced is still horrible. All sexual assault is horrible, regardless of how "bad" it is.

Again, I say, it is not your fault. Sure, maybe you could have done something differently; maybe you could have avoided walking down that street, or broken up with that girlfriend or boyfriend beforehand, or stopped the attacker before it went too far. But the fact of the matter is that you didn't, and the fact that you didn't doesn't somehow excuse the attacker. In the same way that we don't blame a murder victim for the decisions they made leading up to the murder, we can't blame a sexual assault victim for the decisions they made leading up to the assault. Because in the end, it was the attacker that made the ultimate decision. It was the attacker that decided to manipulate you and treat you like an object just to satisfy their perverse sense of pleasure or control. You did not in any way "cause" him or her to do that. He or she chose that.

And to those people who would say that you were "asking" for it—the solution is plain and simple. Ignore them, because they are most likely bigots that lack empathy. They are the kind of people that believe women who are assaulted are just sluts and that men can't be assaulted, period. If you are religious, pray for them, that they can move past their bigotry and realize the error of their ways.

So, in conclusion, to the victim of sexual assault reading this, know that you are strong.

You are stronger than you think, simply because you are still here, still kicking, still surviving, even after what you have gone through. You are strong in a way that most people will never understand because sexual assault hurts in a way that most people will never understand. You are so, so strong. And one day I hope that you make peace with what has happened, that you find lasting happiness beyond what has happened, that you come to terms with the actions of the attacker. Because you know what—you deserve it.

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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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