A letter to victims of sexual assault

Dear victims,

Neglecting the body, committing risky behavior, self-medicating, unwanted pregnancy, depression, suicide and sexually transmitted diseases are only some of the physical side effects linked to sexual assaults and intimate partner violence. Aside from that, it takes an incredible mental and emotional toll when your friends don’t support you, you’re known as the “slut” on campus, you can’t bear looking in the mirror and you’re not you. You think it’s your fault, but it’s not. You are never at fault when it comes to sexual assault.

Maybe your husband hit you for the hundredth time, but this time you promise you will get out, you’ll leave, but in reality it’s going to take you five more times before you actually do. Maybe you were raped at a party by the star football player, but who’s going to believe you when everyone idolizes him? Maybe your money, car and cell phone has been taken from you, leaving you hopeless and stranded from safety. Maybe you live in fear that he will find you or the children. Maybe your eyes left your drink at the bar and you don’t know where you are right now. Maybe the law is the only thing keeping you from living in peace. One thing is for certain about you though, because it applies to not one, but all of you — you were all just one of the thousands that have been sexually or violently assaulted in the last 15 seconds.

Who would have known that all of these issues even exist because sexual assault in our society is so hidden, so silent. We can’t name it and we refuse to give it a name as well. By doing so it’s easier to ignore. When someone in society has been sexually assaulted they are no longer known for anything else, but that particular event. Not only do we silence the issue, we silence the victim. Although the hospital may give you options directly after the attack, where will you end up in the future? The law is just as biased as the society. How will you ever find safety or acceptance? Where is justice in the world of abused and assaulted women? You and most women will never find an answer to these questions, even after battling in the courtroom. Considering it was not your fault in the first place, but now you have to go the extra distance to find peace and maybe even get some sleep at night. Not only do you and these victims have to find it, they have to do it alone. Although there are of support programs, shelters and counseling, there is no organization, without an extremely high cost to pay, that will completely protect the victim, hence the reason why they are left with these two options.

These victims, who are mainly women much like yourself, are often blamed because of their attire (short skirts or exposing tops) or their state (perhaps intoxication). Women are blamed and even worse shamed in our society today because sexual assault and intimate partner violence is about the men having power of and control over women and people in general. This is very common in relationships and can be subliminal in the sense that you don’t see it coming.

For me, I only want one thing for victims: comfort. I wish for you to find comfort in yourself, your identity and the way you live your life. Even though your body will never forget, your mind will finally be at ease. I hope that the law finally recognizes its flaws of proper justice for abused women and I anticipate the day when women are no longer accused of such doings. Please know that it was not your fault in any way. There is help out there for you and one day you will be you again. Keep fighting for your justice; don’t let him stand in the way.

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