Sadly but not surprisingly, the first comment was from a man: “I think not to come forward immediately is letting the next victim down.”
Even when he was slammed for victim blaming – it’s not the responsibility of survivors to stop rape – he continued. “We should be putting pressure on people to come forward not to stay silent because it’s easy.”
Firstly, there’s nothing easy about staying silent.
Secondly, we should be supporting rape survivors in whatever way they need, not pressuring them to come forward immediately. We need to stop telling women to speak out and start telling men not to rape.
Because even when we do speak out, you don’t fucking listen. Even when Dr Christine Blasey Ford stood in front of the US Senate and spoke about being sexually assaulted at the age of 15, the man she accused was voted into the Supreme Court.
Even after five women accused comedian Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of them, he’s still performing stand up.
Even after 22 women accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct and he admitted to grabbing women “by the pussy,” he is still the President of the United States of America.
In Australia, even when women report rape, only a fraction of those cases ever get to court, and an even smaller amount result in a conviction.
A report by the Crime Statistics Agency found that of the 3,500 rapes reported to Victoria Police in 2009 and 2010, only 3 per cent ended in a court conviction. Three per cent.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying women shouldn’t report assault if they are strong enough to do so; but we cannot expect women to go through the trauma of reliving their experiences when our justice system so inherently favours men, and perpetrators are so rarely held accountable for their actions.
Women do not owe you their stories. We do not owe you our voices. And we’re not going to bare our souls for you.
Because when we do, we receive death threats, we’re mocked by the President of the United States and called a liar in the media.
Meanwhile, the men accused of sexual assault remain sitting in the most powerful positions in the world.
So no, it’s not our “duty” to talk about sexual assault. It’s your duty to start listening to us, to start believing us, and to start holding rapists accountable.
Stop “putting pressure” on women to come forward, and start putting pressure on men not to rape.