“It can be assumed that there is a stigma that women are one of the reasons they end up in their situation.” - Sexual Assault Victim
In a society that has an existing rape culture, young girls and even mature
women are faced with internalizing the pain associated with unwanted sexual acts. It’s something most people are afraid to speak on because one might say “she’s lying” or “she wanted it”.
Additionally, some victims have stated that the governing arms of the country have failed to see the seriousness of this issue.
The use of social media to bring awareness of the reality of this topic has recently surfaced on Bahamian Twitter.
You know how Twitter works. One person speaks out on a topic and everyone wants to have an opinion. However this time, it was a little different.
Victims from all over the world took to social media on the global trending topic and the outpouring of stories was unimaginable. The topic was sensitive and people were calling their assailants out by name. Some even went as far as creating a list of offenders. It didn’t matter who you were or how many people saw you differently, the stories came out.
However, it was this one scenario that stood out. A young lady began sharing her story of sexual assault on a local university campus in a very detailed thread. She was a young freshman meeting with group members for an upcoming project, but things quickly began to get intense as two of those members had to leave to attend class.
It was just her and a male “associate”.
“He took my phone from me, and put it in his pocket, he turned the lights off which made the room super dark because there wasn’t any windows and proceeded to play love songs,” she wrote.
“He pushed himself on me and I remember him saying if you want your phone back you have to play with it.”
She went on to say he revealed his private parts begging her to touch him, but she put up a fight. At this point, she’s confused and frightened all in one because this is her boyfriend’s best friend and she figured she should have been off limits.
He said, “just stroke it and i’ll let you go”. The fact that she was in a relationship with his close friend did not matter.
Her saving grace was a stranger who happened to be checking for an available study room.
She says, “he stopped because he thought someone saw.”
The young lady admits she wasn’t sure if screaming or fighting was helping and her body completely “shut down” during that moment.
Another young lady, explained that initially she did not consider her situation to be a form of sexual assault, but after she analyzed what happened and the consequences to follow, she felt violated. Something happened that was non consensual.
“I blamed myself for not immediately calling him out when I realized he had taken the condom off after I demanded he should wear one,” she wrote.
“I blamed myself heavily especially after I got diagnosed with an STD.”
She shared that “spinning her negative situation into a talking point” was a part of her journey to heal.
One common question most people looking from the outside ask is, “Why didn’t you report it to anyone?”
Well, quite frankly the answers were similar: either there was not enough evidence or the police simply did not pursue the case because of their personal opinion. Some people on the feed questioned, “Why report it to the police when they ask you bogus questions or imply it was your fault?”
It makes you wonder how many cases are swept under the rug due to a corrupt system. It’s a crying shame that so many stories will never be heard. As a result, some individuals resort to activism to raise awareness.
Our culture has created an atmosphere of not addressing the things that really matter and allowing people to continue to invade the privacy of others.
To speak up on a sensitive topic such as this has become a hard task due to the negative stigma society places around it. However, social media was the first step toward a solution to this problem because it has sparked the attention within education facilities, news stations and even social influencers. Social media has become a platform for not only victims of sexual abuse, but people battling many other social ills. This coping mechanism has become common among people who have been victims of sexual harassment.
However, the sad reality is some relive those moments because their abuser is someone who is close to them.
They are our fathers, brothers, uncles and even our friends. The pain never leaves you. It's time to break the cycle, because it is not long before someone you know might have to battle this same issue.
Then what will you do?