I keep reading that shit and it keeps making me want to punch people through my monitor.
I understand that not everyone has been sexually assaulted. What I can't understand is how anyone can go through life thinking sexual assault is akin to getting your car stolen or your house broken into.
If our car got stolen today I would call the police immediately. Yes, we would get asked if it was locked but no one would sit back and let the thief keep the car because it was 'our word against his'. That shit's ours and we have the paperwork to prove it.
If I got raped today I would not call the police. Our society says my body belongs to whomever feels like fucking with it. If I don't want it taken I had better cover it up, stay away from parties and bars and not walk anywhere alone at night. Or date. Or simply exist. It would be 'my word against his' and everyone knows women are evil little seductresses that love to lie. Yes, I rolled my eyes as I was typing that.
To me it makes perfect sense that Bill Cosby's accusers are coming out of the woodwork now. He was a powerful man and those women, individually, knew they stood no chance of getting justice. Even now, with 20+ having come forward people still defend him. "Why now?!", they cry. I'll tell them why.
Safety in numbers.
When I was 16 I was accosted by one of our town's 'upstanding members'. He and his father had run a popular corner store for years. I had gone in there numerous times with no problems until the summer afternoon I walked in and was the only one in there. I was looking at a shelf of snacks when he came up behind me and put his arms around me. I blocked out the memory of what he said but I remember clearly what I was wearing. A light blue tank top dress over a white tube top. I remember so clearly because I wore the tube top underneath as I felt the dress alone was too low cut and I didn't want attention drawn to my breasts. That didn't stop him from pulling it open and looking at them anyway.
I'd love to say that I turned around and slapped him but I froze. I felt powerless because I knew I was powerless. He was a 'respected member of the community' while I was just a teen from a white trash family. No one would believe me.
Well, not 'no one'. One friend laughed and was all,"Duh. He does that to everyone." A few years later someone told me he had offered her money for sex (when she was underage) which she turned down.
To my knowledge no one ever reported him for anything but what would happen if someone came forward today? How many women, besides the three of us that I know of, could come forward? He ran that store for many years so I'm guessing the official number would be somewhere around a shit ton. Does it all magically become untrue because we didn't report it at the time?
Women grow up hearing the message that we're all liars and drama queens. Even when we're beaten up and bloody we must 'like it rough'. And it's not just from men. We do it to each other. If she's thinner or more attractive she must have 'asked for it'. On the flip side, if she's less attractive she must be 'making it up' because no one would want to sexually assault her anyway, right?
I don't know where to even begin to change these attitudes. I can only do me. If you tell me you have been assaulted I am going to believe you. I would rather risk having misguided faith than feed into our rape culture any further.