If it were only this easy...
Follow the rules. Dress this way. Don’t wear that. You should look like this. Boys wont like that. Girls won’t like that. Who are you trying to impress? You’ve gained weight. That’s too much makeup. Talk like a lady. Don’t say those words. Why are you single? You are lonely. You need a significant other to lean on. You need someone to protect you. Don’t walk alone. Don't wear headphones. Stay quiet. Don’t cause a scene. What did you do? How did you provoke it? How did you let this happen? Did it really happen? Did anyone else see it? What’s the evidence? Maybe you were drunk. Do you even remember? You shouldn’t have been drinking so late. You shouldn’t have left your drink unattended. I can’t believe you passed out. Don’t drink. Don’t be vulnerable. He was drunk. He doesn’t remember. It wasn’t that bad. He didn’t mean it. They’ll change. It won’t happen again. Your story doesn’t add up. You were asking for it. You had it coming. There are no bruises. There are no marks. Why did you stay? We don’t believe you. They’re not that type of person. There is no way. He’s a good person. He’s a family man. He’s well respected in the community. You must report it. Don’t report it. You won’t have a case. Don’t go to the media. Don’t tell your story. Keep it quiet; you don’t want to ruin his reputation. Forget it happened. Get back to your normal life. Go to therapy. Follow these rules, you’ll be fine. Learn how to not let that happen to you again. Get a gun. Get over it. Move on. It’s over.
Negotiation. Persuasion. Coercion. Power differential.
All of the victim blaming… All of the excuses… All of the rules in how we should be and who we should be and how we shouldn’t have let that happen to us. It is exhausting. It is putting blame, work, time, money, and effort on the wrong person. We obviously can’t keep up; sexual violence continues to happen.
Stop the negotiations. Stop the persuasion. Stop the coercion. Stop using your power. Stop victim blaming.
Stop trying to make sense as to why sexual violence (or domestic violence, or emotional abuse, or physical abuse) happened to said victim/survivor. It is human instinct to want to know, Why? We easily victim blame ourselves too. But we shouldn’t have to learn how to not get sexually assaulted. We should prevent it – by changing the one absolute reason for sexual violence: the perpetrator. Learn, teach, know, share, promote, and talk about how to not sexually assault someone. Consent, respect, boundaries, permission, values, love, love your children. Get help, ask for help, report or acknowledge concerning behaviors, be observant of your children, spouses, and your friends.
I must add that yes, please do protect yourself. I am pro-security systems, self-defense, guard dogs, avoiding dangerous situations and on and on. I always will be. And I will always promote it. We must fill the gap because there will always be evil, but ultimately if the perpetrator wasn’t a perpetrator in the first place… problem solved.
Okay now, let’s get real here. I’m not naïve. I mean, look at the photo I have in this post: my badass lioness tattoo in hopes to make me look tougher and less vulnerable. I'll try anything to get that target off of my forehead... These are big dreams I’m having in this post, but: They need to be said. They need to be acknowledged. They need to be heard. If it were only this easy.
And regarding everything from the first paragraph… Shhh, your turn to be silent, Victim Blamers.
(I say “he” as the abuser in the first paragraph based on statistics)