According to the New York Times, nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point. On top of that, one in four reported that they had been beaten by a loved one or intimate partner, and one in six reported that they had been stalked by a man in their lifetime. As evidenced by these statistics, sexual assault is not just something that happens across the globe, but it is something that happens on a day to day basis.
The number one thing to know when dealing with a horrible experience such as being sexually assaulted is that it is NEVER your fault. Out of the twenty plus calls that I have received regarding sexual assault, it is safe to say that over fifty percent of these callers said something along the lines of, “but I was really drunk” or “maybe I led him on” at some point throughout the call. I am here to inform you that no matter what you are wearing, how much you drank, who you flirted with, or how you carried yourself that night, you did not ask for or deserve what happened to you. A victim is never to blame because an action so cruel as sexual assault is simply unjustifiable. It is a problem that the harmer has with him or herself and it is always their fault. Sexual assault is a crime. It is immoral, unjust, and simply cruel.
The second thing to know when you are dealing with sexual assault is that you are NEVER alone. Hotlines like Teen Line and Community Helpline are always accessible and a good resource. It is important to talk. Sexual assault is not something to be embarrassed about and it is more common than you may think. You may not know it, but people in your community may have gone through something very similar to you. Finding a school counselor, friend, parent, or trusted adult who you feel comfortable with is very important in coping with this. Although many act like sexual assault is a “taboo” topic or one that is not talked about it, the more that it is talked about, the more we can reduce the stigma. Don’t be afraid to admit to being sexually assaulted. Although it is a very scary thing to admit to, you are NOT alone and it is NOT your fault.
Liv Klubeck- 16 years old