Taylor Swift's Sexual Assault Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Through countless news sources and articles covering the matter, the public is well aware of Taylor Swift’s sexual assault trial. Even though the story is being covered well and the public is attentive, very few people are standing with the singer.

Because I am a fan of Taylor, I am biased in some ways. However, my gut instinct after seeing much of the public’s response — or lack of response — is to speak up.

I’ve seen responses from not believing her to attacking her rather than standing with her as a woman who was assaulted. I believe the fact that sexual assault is not being taken seriously in Taylor Swift’s case is telling of the world we live in right now. People are victim blaming left and right, excusing the perpetrator’s behavior and in some instances, portraying Swift as “money hungry” or out of control.

One example of the public not taking this topic seriously was made apparent in a video I saw — which has now been deleted from social media. The video was a parody “reenactment” of the moment DJ David Mueller assaulted Taylor Swift. In this video, a radio host and co-worker portrayed Swift taking a photo and then reaching out to hit the other person (who is supposed to be DJ David Mueller) and exclaiming, “Did you just touch my ass? You just touched my ass.” Not only was this video done in poor taste and for comedic purposes, it also exacerbates and trivializes the seriousness of an incident of sexual assault.

As someone who has been sexually assaulted and is looking into her options to report the assault, I am disgusted by the public’s response to this case. Though I am not a celebrity nor am I under as much public scrutiny as Taylor Swift is, the lack of support and attacks against her for simply speaking up discourages me to even continue looking into reporting my assault.

I personally struggle with mental illness. While I am fully aware the law already does not always take those struggling with mental health seriously, if I were in the same situation, I can just imagine people blaming me, saying things like: “Well, she is mentally ill, so I’m sure she’s lying.” Or perhaps people would make excuses for my perpetrator, saying: “The other person is definitely not at fault. Mentally ill people are crazy.”

It makes me sick to my stomach. And now I worry even more that I won’t be taken seriously because of other such factors.   

All in all, I wanted to share this to shine a light on some disrespectful responses to a serious matter. I also hope to let other victims and survivors of sexual assault know they are not alone and they do not have to face the aftermath of being assaulted on their own. Reach out for support. Report it. You deserve to heal and you deserve justice. Sexual assault is a serious crime and it is time to start treating it as such — no matter who the victim is. 

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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Photo via Taylor Swift Facebook page.

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