Sexual assault can happen to anyone.
Devastatingly, 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime. It could happen to someone you know. It might've already happened to someone you know.
If someone approaches you and puts enough trusts you enough to tell you, don't make them feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. It is their truth. Just listen to their story and be there for them.
Do not be insensitive. Do not ask insensitive questions. Do not make jokes about something that is NEVER funny.
1. "What were you wearing?"
Seriously? How in the hell does what the person is wearing dictate whether this person should have their sense of peace stolen from them? How do clothes on your body determine whether you will be attacked?
2. "How much did you have to drink?"
It doesn’t matter whether you had a sip or a whole bottle of liquor. Consent is consent. If the person is drunk, there should be no sex happening to begin with. Think with your heads, not your private parts.
3. "Did you say no?"
IT. DOESN’T. MATTER. IF. THEY. SAID. NO. If they didn't say yes? It wasn’t consensual.
4. "Are you sure you weren’t teasing them or you were asking for it?"
?! There is no rhyme or reason for someone to commit sexual assault. Ever. Period.
5. "If there was no penetration, you weren't assaulted."
Sexual assault can occur in so many different forms. You can assault someone and not penetrate them with a penis.
6. "You shouldn't have been there in the first place."
Rape can occur anywhere, anytime. It does not matter whether you are at a party, an unknown area, or your home. It can happen. It shouldn’t matter where the person was. There is never an excuse to assault someone.
7. "If you know your attacker, you weren't assaulted."
A huge portion of all sexual assault cases are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. 38% occur by an acquaintance. Only 31% are by strangers. Another whopping 23% occur by intimates.
8. "If it is your spouse or significant other, you weren’t assaulted."
It does not matter whether you have been with the person for 50 years. If the victim does not want the act to occur, it is assault.
9. "Guys can't be assaulted, they can only get lucky."
Guys can be assaulted too. You may not hear about it as often because they are scared. They receive these responses every day.
10. "If you didn’t report it, then you must not think you were assaulted."
There are hundreds of reasons why victims don't report their assault – fear of not being believed, fear of their attacker, the list goes on. Just because the assault was not reported does not mean it didn’t happen.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are people out there who want to help. You can reach out to 800.656.HOPE(4673) or you can reach out to me personally. I will be happy to help in any way that I can.
For more Kat, like her on Facebook.