Speak up about your problems, they say. It will be a liberating experience, they say. But is talking that easy? What if the words don’t come out?
Talking is not easy. You have to think of “right words” to articulate your thoughts and when one is at the peak of emotional trauma, finding the right words is the last thing one can do. A large number of survivors of sexual assault talks about this problem of being unable to voice out their traumatic experience in front of their family and friends.
Why you make ask.
Well, society stigmatizes ‘certain experiences’ and sexual assault is one of them. If a girl talks about it, most of the time, she is seen as the cause for it. In the case of boys, it’s not just the stigma of assault but also the stigma of not being “man enough” that causes them to stay quiet most of the times. When it comes to sexual assault on LGBTQ+ community, the situation gets even worse.
We have made such definite ideas about gender that anything that disrupts the “construct” is seen with suspicion.
But we need to keep in mind that an assault is an assault. People are violated irrespective of gender so the judgment and treatment should also go beyond it.
First of all, let’s define what comes under Sexual Assualt.
According to the Department of Justice, “Sexual Assault is any type of sexual contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”
That is, if someone tries to touch you without your consent and tries to force themselves on you, you can report them for sexual assault. If you have ever been sexually assaulted or feels like you have been or have a friend who has been, you need to talk about it. Remember one thing,
You did not do anything wrong. You are not the victim. You are a SURVIVOR and you deserve justice.
CelebMix tries to give out some ways that might help you speak about the experience:
Approach the closest people first
It might sound cliché but the best person you can approach to talk about your trauma is your parents. If you are not close to them, then, go to your best friend. Tell them smallest of the smallest detail. They will ask you to report it and you might become hesitant but it’s for your own benefit. Let the perpetrator know that you are not alone.
Reach out to Support Groups
If you cannot reach out to your parents or friends, reach out to a support group. Cooperate with them, tell them everything and they will help you report the incident.
Jot it down
Writing down about a traumatic experience is as difficult as speaking up. But writing can help you in two ways. If you are not able to gather the courage to talk to your parents or friend upfront, writing them a letter on the day it happened will offer you a medium to reach out to them. Also, when you write down your experience right after the incident happened, you will have the most accurate details of the incident. This will help you in the prosecution.
As the days passed, a survivor would try to slip back into normal life and would try to keep away any memory that might lead them back to the horrific incident. This might eventually make your brain remember only certain details.
Take Up Social Media
A lot of people over the last few years have made use of social media to talk about their ordeal. If you are seeking a place to speak up about your ordeal and wish to take some action, reveal it to the world. But do it only if feel comfortable.
You will come across people who have been through the same situation. They might help you fight the problem. You might receive some backlash for sharing your experience but don’t let negativity bother you. Let people help you.
Sexual Assualt is the worst experience one can ever go through. But don’t let this horrific experience stop you from living your life. You are brave. No matter who you are, you deserve a life of respect and dignity. You are a survivor and you will triumph. We are with you.