So I guess it’s cool now to talk about domestic violence and rape as if it was a new lamp from Walmart.
“Look at my new lamp! Did you hear the story about that girl who lied about being raped at UVA? Look at my new toaster!"
It’s literally just something we talk about now. Which is a good thing. The bad thing is we’re so super desensitized to what rape, domestic violence, and women's rights actually are, and mean.
We don’t truly understand. We don’t know where to put the blame, so we -- albeit unintentionally -- end up blaming the victim.
It’s a horrible loop of behavior we’ve caught ourselves in, because everyone thinks they're an expert.
“She has a short skirt on, therefore, she was asking for something like this to happen" one might tell themselves, maybe to shield themselves from the reality of the situation: that that girl you just said deserved to get raped did and was made to perform sex acts without her own consent. So someone entered her and her personal space, did as they pleased and left. That’s an awful thought, truly terrible thing to have happen, and we as a society then pour salt in the wound by telling her, you deserved it.
What’s with that? Can we like...s top that now? It’s not right... or fair -- or decent.
We take it upon ourselves to know what happened to the victim of domestic violence or rape. We assume to know what it feels like.
Statistically, only 2 to 8 percent of rape reports are false rape reports. So yes, there absolutely are women who file false reports, but that shouldn't take away the fact that rape occurs every 120 seconds of every day in this country. Those women need our support as a society. Its not our place to hate them. Do I hate that statistic? Yes. Do I want to protect women and children? Hell Yes.
There are ways to help a victim of domestic violence and rape.
Let Her Talk About It
Be a part of the conversation if your friend or loved one reaches out to you. Listen to what she has to say, truly listen and let her know you are there for her. This is a woman in serious crisis. This is not your soap box, this is her seeking support from a trusted friend.
Don’t Judge, Girl
Your job is to be there for your friend in serious life crisis, spiritual devastation, and physical violation. No matter what -- do not insinuate that she deserved it in anyway, or could have prevented it "if you only did this instead." She is coming to you because she trusts you. Just be there her.
Don’t Force Her
Let your friend make up her own mind on what to do next. Unless she is in dire need of medical attention, don’t take it upon yourself to call the authorities. Encourage her. Every rape in this country should be reported to the authorities, and until that happens, no real change will be made. But it is not your place, unless she is in serious physical danger.
Give Her Information
Day One RI in Providence are our strongest advocates for the victims of sexual and domestic violence assaults on women, right here in state. Visit their website to gather more information for you, your loved ones, or anyone in need of a little help through this trying time. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to make that difference in a survivor's struggle.
We, as a society need to stop the victim blaming, and show a little compassion for victims of horrific and violent crimes.
For More Information: www.dayoneri.org