The issues of rape and body shaming really piss me off. I recently read the article on the BYU action concerning their policies and actions taken against women who have been raped. It appalls me that we still live in an era that it is still the woman who is at fault.
Over the past several months I have watched a very young lady be persecuted openly for acts committed against her by her father. Her mother and I both encouraged her to speak up. Step out of the box and be a voice not just for herself but for others. Her mother and I have many friends between the two of us. We were expecting people to encourage and support her. Instead, overall people are still hiding behind closed doors. Why? In order to make change, people must unite together and become one voice! So, why does everyone remain quiet? We remain quiet out of fear. Fear of retaliation. Fear of being judged. Fear that we may have to talk about an uncomfortable subject that needs to be addressed.
The latest published statistics show the following:
Sexual Assault Statistics in Utah and the Nation
• 1 in 3 women in Utah will experience some form of sexual violence during her life. Child molestation is the most common form of sexual violence, followed closely by rape. 86.2% of victims in Utah were first assaulted before their 18th birthday.
(Rape in Utah: A Survey of Utah Women About Their Experience with Sexual Violence. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2005.)
• Approximately 1 in 8 women in Utah will be raped sometime during their lifetime.
(Rape in Utah, 2005.)
• According to the 2004 “crime clock” calculations, there is one forcible rape every 9.6 hours in the State of Utah.
(2004 Crime in Utah. Utah Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification.)
• In 2004, law enforcement made 241 arrests for forcible rapes and 608 arrests for sex offenses, an increase of 26% from 2003.
(2004 Crime in Utah.)
• Rape is the only category of violent crime in Utah which has a rate that exceeds the nation’s average.
(Rape in Utah. 2005)
• In fact, since 1991, Utah’s reported rape rate has consistently been higher than the national rate. In 2003, Utah’s rape rate was 18.1% higher than the national rate.
(Sexual Violence in Utah: Analysis of Incident-Based Crime Data. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2005.)
• Only 21.4% of rape victims in Utah reported the offense to law enforcement.
(Shedding Light, 2002 Utah Crime Victimization Survey. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2003.)
In the United States:
• 2002 crime clock calculations indicate that there is one forcible rape every 5.5 minutes in the U.S.
(Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in the United States, 2002. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. 2003.)
• An estimated 302,100 women and 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.
(Tjaden, Patricia and Thoennes, Nancy. Prevalence, Incident, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, Office of the Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. November 1998.)
• Teens 16 to 19 were three and one-half times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
(National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. 1996.
I did find a few newer stats up to 2013 however they were almost the same but not as detailed. These numbers are horrific! We need to come together and speak out. Until we do, and even after, we will continue to be looked at as the ones who deserve this. It’s our own faults. We will continue to be punished for crimes committed against us.
We believe we have our clergy to help us through these things. Do we honestly have that resource? Why is it a women goes to her ecclesiastical leader and she is told how horrible it is this happened. How can we help? Then in the same sentence told if she hadn’t have made the choices she did, it wouldn’t have happened. Therefore the message sent is; It sucks to be you. Its your own fault. There is no logic to that response or reasoning.
In my own experience, people such as male church leaders don’t know or care the damage done to a women or girl when this happens. It is a life altering event. We don’t just “get over it” We become our own worst enemy to the full extent. We begin to believe it IS our fault. Many women start using drugs or drinking to make the pain go away. I not only became an alcoholic, but I started self harming. I moved on to violent relationships’ thinking I didn’t wasn’t worth anything more. The first time I tried to commit suicide I was 14 after going through a lot of physical and emotional abuse at home. Later that same year, I was sexually assaulted by a family member. I then made my second attempt to take my own life. No one ever told me I was worth more than that so I continued down the path of my own self destruction.
If you step back and take an unbiased look at many situations, you can see that there is a cycle or pattern that we get stuck in no matter how intelligent one is. This happens due to lack of getting the appropriate help for ourselves. We hide truths about things because we are ashamed of what happened to us. We may not understand clearly that we aren’t permanently broken. That there is help. The more we hide things and don’t speak out the longer society will believe it is ok to place blame on the victim/survivor of such unthinkable actions. These things are unreasonable and not acceptable to me!
Ladies, It’s time to unite. To raise our voices and stand as one. Be each others support. Fight for the right to be justified not by just others but by ourselves. No means no. Rape and or sexual assault is not acceptable at any level. It’s not your fault. You are strong, beautiful and are priceless!
The campaign against this starts now. It starts here. Please join me in being a voice!
August 12, 2016