Not a Victim, A Survivor

In today’s society, we are sadly taught how not to get raped rather than how not to rape. Survivors of sexual assault and rape are victimized. The views surrounding sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are related to gendered lessons. Women and girls are seen as subordinate whereas men and women are seen as naturally aggressive and predators. These generalized lessons normalize the way men, boys, women, and girls interact with each other. People experience the “everyday violence” of catcalls or inappropriate actions but since it happens to so many people, it’s become normal. People do not often report these advances or experiences because they either do not see it as a big deal because it is normal or because they don’t want to be stigmatized. There have been many times where people ask “Why did they not report sooner?” But have never thought of the consequences that these survivors feel? They’re treated as if it is their fault because they dressed a certain way or because they put themselves in a certain situation. I personally believe that it is not their fault. They are not victims because they are strong, not subordinate. They get to decide whether or not to report their experience. They decide when to report. They decide what to do with their narrative. Imagine having experienced a traumatizing event, having someone laugh and then tell them it was their fault for putting themselves in that situation and then threatening to report it for you. Please think before you speak to a person who has experienced this because most times, someone you know has. Every woman experiences a form of sexual harassment or sexual assault. Keep in mind, they are not a victim but, a survivor.