6 Reasons Why You Should #BelieveWomen

The rise of the #MeToo movement has allowed countless sexual assault survivors to come forward and share their stories. After years of silence, women finally have a voice that is being heard. Despite this, there are many who want them to remain quiet. We need to make sure that this movement continues to encourage sexual assault survivors to come forward, and it is time that we value a woman’s words. Here are six reasons why believing women is the first step we should take in preventing rape culture.

1. Sexual assault is very common.

Many people against the #MeToo movement claim that it has become a "witch hunt" for men, but none of them have considered that sexual assault is extremely common. Sexual assault happens worldwide, and in North America alone, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. If sexual assault is this common, why is it so hard to believe the victim?

2. False allegations are extremely rare.

There is an ongoing misconception that women have been making false allegations against men, especially in Hollywood. This misconception is dangerous because it discredits many accusations that are valid. Only 2-8% of accusations are actually false, and to label them as fake only makes it harder for other victims to share their stories. If sexual assault is common and if false allegations are rare, it should be easy to believe women.

3. It’s a huge risk for women.

Most women get endless amounts of backlash when they come forward, and none of them would want to go through that level of scrutiny if it was all for a lie. Women get attacked and even threatened when they make an accusation toward a man, especially one who is in power. For instance, Christine Blasey Ford herself said that people sent her and her family death threats during the Brett Kavanaugh case. Women are blamed and questioned much more than their perpetrators are, and many people continue to shame them. Despite these negative reactions, they risk everything to find peace for themselves, to stop their abuser from hurting other women, and to get the justice that they deserve.

4. Women can recall the incident well.

Another misconception is that women can’t remember the incident well, which leads people to believe that they are lying; however, this is not the case. Many women can go through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following their assaults, and while sometimes the disorder can repress the memory for some time, upon recalling it, they can vividly remember what happened accurately. The memory of the incident can stay with them for a long time, so when they feel ready to talk about it, it’s important to show your support and encouragement.

5. Men rarely get convicted.

It is estimated that of the sexual assaults reported, less than 1% of men are convicted. This means that over 99% of sexual offenders get to walk free. This alarming statistic indicates that even though more women are coming forward, our justice system is failing to deliver them the justice that they deserve. In sexual assault cases, many discourage women with, “It was in his past!” or, “You could be ruining his future!” However, many fail to acknowledge that a survivor's life has already been negatively impacted, while her abuser continues to walk free and live his life without consequences. It is time that we held men accountable for their actions, regardless of how old they were at the time of the assault, or their future earning potentials.

6. Believing women creates a safer environment for other victims to come forward.

Once society starts amplifying female voices rather than silencing them, more and more survivors will find the strength and courage to share their own stories and it is essential that we believe them. Sexual assault victims have suffered long enough, and with the rise of the #MeToo movement, many of them will finally begin to get the justice that they have always deserved.

Believing women is just the first step. For more sexual assault survivors to see justice and for more voices to be heard, we need to encourage everyone to firstly teach consent. Raising awareness and creating safe spaces for sexual assault survivors are the next steps society can take to abate the rape culture that is still prominent today.