So how can I support her? By adding my voice to hers and speaking out, knowing it won't change the past and won't heal my pain, but might, just maybe, give courage to others.
I am also a victim of sexual assault. It was decades ago when I was still a youngster. At the time, I believed it was my fault. Because I was surely a bad person, because I didn't deserve to be respected. And I believed that no one would believe me because I was a child.
In later years I wondered how many others were subsequently assaulted by my attacker, and whether my voice would have stopped him. And I think, perhaps, many of us who have been assaulted wonder that same thing...until we see someone else come forward and be called names, denied investigation and receive death threats. And then we know our voices only make us unsafe, exposed and victimized again.
When an adult is not received with kindness and understanding as she gives voice to her sexual assault experience, how can we expect our children and grandchildren to feel safe coming forward at the time these things occur? I think of what this week's news is telling my own children about the world, and I cringe. What if, WHAT IF one of our own children does not come forward after an assault because of how victims are treated in today's society?
Enough, enough already.