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A Plea to Those Who Doubt Sexual Assault Allegations

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I’m fed up. I’ve listened over and over again to women who have come forward with their painful stories of sexual assault just to have their claims repudiated and their reputations destroyed. I’ve also seen scores of individuals, many claiming to have strict morals and superior beliefs, step forward to support the accused and ignore the victims claims, even if they deem their allegations to be true, simply to uphold some kind of political righteousness. 

• What is PTSD?

Well frankly, it’s disgusting. I don’t care what political party, religious organization or other group you belong to, women and men cannot continue to be systematically rejected, disbelieved and marginalized because it’s “convenient.” Sexual assault allegations aren’t a frivolous thing. Anyone who has endured the pain of being violated knows that above all, the incident produces immeasurable shame. Coming forward with these allegations opens a wound that may remain open for a lifetime. Why would anyone do that simply to get attention?

The first thing that happens when someone comes forward with their story of sexual assault is that they will face disbelief, persecution and isolation. They may lose friends, family and even jobs. They will have to regurgitate the details of their horrific event over and over again, simply to be discounted and humiliated. Eventually they will be broken down, made to doubt their own memory and relegated to the status of liar. And for what purpose? Fame? Fortune? No. 

I am a survivor and I tell my story in spite of knowing what the cost is. I know some will hide because it hurts to hear. I know some won’t believe me. I know some will think I’m overreacting. But I don’t care. Why? Because if I help one women or man who has also survived feel less alone in this world then it’s all worth it.

Next time someone comes forward, please think twice about how quickly you judge. Try to place yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine having your safety, trust and body violated for the purpose of pleasure and power of another. Perhaps you will be able to put your biases aside and allow your sympathy and humanity to prevail because this world needs more brave souls willing to step forward and share their stories. Those souls need you to stop, listen and learn what it truly means to be a survivor.

Getty image via Tero Vesalainen

Originally published: June 26, 2019
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