Because over 60% of sexual assaults go unreported. Because 1 in 6 women will be victims. Because 1 in 33 men will be victims. Because some studies show more than 52% of individuals in LGBT relationships experience sexual violence. Beacause it can happen to anyone.
It is often believed that sexy or suggestive clothing invites wanted male attention, positive or negative. Regardless, wearing revealing clothing does not invite sexual assault. In fact, women and girls have been raped in everything from jeans to business suits to pajamas. This belief reinforces the myth that women and girls invite assault by their clothing choices and shifts the blame for the crime to the victim and away from the perpetrator, where it belongs.
Last month, the ACLU’s Louise Melling blogged about how street harassment shames and humiliates women, and is underreported because of the stigma attached to it. While that blog was making the editing rounds here at the office, I shared my own story of how I dealt with a particularly obnoxious harasser, and my esteemed colleagues suggested I share it. Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, after all, here it is. And there’s gonna be swearing. I’m really sorry in advance (Mom).
In 2006 I was sexually assaulted. I never expected to blog about it.
One evening in DC, a stranger grabbed me as I walked from the metro stop to my apartment after work. I wish I could say I screamed or fought back, but I was too horrified. Instead I could only stare in disbelief at the jackass holding me down. This can’t be happening. In a desperate scramble I somehow managed to break away before it escalated to rape and ran inside my building. He winked and blew a kiss from behind the glass door, as if to say ‘oh well, next time‘. I was the third women in the neighborhood to report a similar story to police in two weeks–also the luckiest. The experience forever shattered a false sense of security, knowing that to monsters like this man, I’m nothing more than conquest, having no identity beyond what I can potentially provide for them. The reward isn’t about sex–but subjugation and power. And I will not be a silent witness to rape.
What is the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline?
The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is a free, confidential, secure service that provides live help over the RAINN website.
Who should use the Online Hotline?
Victims of sexual assault (whether their attack took place today or decades ago)
Spouses, family members, and partners of victims
Friends of victims
What services does the Online Hotline provide?
Crisis intervention and support
Answers to your questions about recovering from sexual assault
Information about medical issues
Explanations of the criminal justice system, and what to expect when you report the crime to the police
Referrals to resources in your area
Information for family and friends of victims
How does it work?
It works just like instant messaging. You’ll go into a private session with a trained volunteer and communicate, live, by typing messages back and forth. The service is completely anonymous, and you do not have to give your name or any personal information.