She asked for it, he is a faggot, she invited him back to her place, man-up, and she was dancing seductively so I thought she wanted it– are some of the pejorative verbal assaults that victims of rape, sexual assault and abuse too often endure. Women victims are often made a mockery of by defense attorneys and the public as a woman sits on the stand trembling with fear, looking her attacker in the eye as she is questioned about her previous sexual encounters, style of dress and who paid for the dinner. If it was a home date, the woman is often scrutinized for having what she thought would be a casual and safe night at the home. Whichever way the questions go, women must sit and battle accusations that they “wanted it,” or be denied their victimization as they listen to the patriarchal assertion that their male attacker was simply responding to her call of sexual seduction even if her boisterous shouts of resistance were ignored. Women are faced with questions of who they can trust, who will genuinely listen to their concerns and who they can turn to in instances of them becoming a victim of a sexual crime.
Now women have to question every encounter with a male, whether on a casual outing with a longtime friend or a simple reconnection with a distant family member. Countless studies show that a victim of sexual assault is more likely to be attacked by an acquaintance, which debunks the perpetual stranger in most rape scenario.
Men are not exempt from being victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape. These crimes committed against men often go unreported due to men’s fear of being emasculated and labeled as a homosexual. Our society has made one’s sexual orientation a microscopically watched spectacle, and the fear of being labeled gay or bisexual threatens the emotional and mental state of an abuse victim. Men too are denied their victimhood through the “man-up” ideology that deprives them of due justice. We have to create, support and promote a platform that accepts the shattered state of male emotion due to sexual assault.
This is a problem we must all work to combat. The decrease and eventual eradication of sexual crimes starts with the eradication of patriarchy and denial of victims’ rights. No one, man or woman, should have to endure the verbal assault faced in the legal system or within society because they have been sexually victimized. Sexual crimes are never solicited and should never been seen as an opportunity to oversexualize a woman or emasculate a man. It is the responsibility of bystanders, legal officials, family, friends and society to speak up against these injustices instead of degrading them. There is not one logical reason a person can use to justify a rape, sexual assault or any other sexual crime committed. When crimes of rape, sexual assault and abuse go unreported or its victims are scrutinized for reporting it, we all become victims and we all become just as guilty as the person committing the crime.