Last night I posted a video "One Brave Girl shares Her story of Overcoming Sexual Abuse".
Within minutes the video had hundreds of views. One being from the husband of the girl in the film. Sadly, I received this message from him:
"Hey Sabrina. I'm so sorry to do this to you, but can you take the video down of Sarah? Lots of new drama has come up with her family about it and they're blaming her for the tension. Her aunty still won't talk to her and if they see this they'll know it's her and flip out. It's been the cause of a lot of conflict lately and this will just make it worse. I'm so sorry."
No, i'm sorry
I'm sorry that we make victims feel guilty! Like they are somehow responsible for the aftermath that comes from abuse.
I'm sorry that when young people finally speak up about what happened to them they are told to keep quiet!
I'm sorry that a lot of the time the perpetrator just walks around like nothing even happened but the victims have to live with it.
I'm sorry if you ever thought it was your fault, it wasn't then, and it isn't now!
Young girl, young boy. Man, woman. If something like this has ever happened to you, you need to know YOU ARE NOT the guilty one. You didn't deserve any of it and whatever mess it has created in its wake has nothing to do with you.
VICTIM AND GUILTY ARE TWO WORDS THAT SHOULD NEVER GO TOGETHER!
For this particular young woman that is how she was made to feel and still is to this very day. When she was 6 years old she was molested by her older cousin. When she finally told someone about it years later she was accused of trying to break the family apart. The abuser completely denied it and even had the audacity to call her the liar!
She recently got married and her relatives thought it was completely unreasonable of her to not invite her cousin (the abuser) to the wedding? Like seriously?!!! What is wrong with people.
It's time to stand up for the victims! Not the perpetrators. It's time to take ALL the blame off the person who was abused. None of the fall-out is their fault! You may not have been able to protect them then, but you can now!
Here's what you and I can do to help any victim of abuse.
• Make sure that they are out of harms way. So often abuse occurs by those closest to us. Be certain that they are safe and protected from any future contact.
• If possible and appropriate hold the abusers accountable for their actions. If necessary involve a third party like the police, a pastor or a counsellor.
• Don't make them feel like they somehow brought it upon themselves. I've personally known girls who have been raped or abused and people have said things like, "you were drinking right, that was a bad idea, maybe you shouldn't have been at his house all by yourself?" Or "It's not really rape if he's your boyfriend right?" STOP! If she says no it means no! It doesn't matter where they were, what they were wearing or if they were dating.
• Love and support the victim. Let them heal how they need to. If it means talking about it, let them. If it means NOT talking about it, let them do that. Be an ear to hear and a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes a long cry and a kind hug can make the world of difference.
• Protect them from that person. They shouldn't have to be around them or see them. If it is someone within your family be sensitive when it comes to family gatherings and social occasions.
• Challenge victim blaming statements when you hear them from friends or family members.
It takes a lot of guts to come forward when you've been through something like this. Let's never ever make the victim feel guilty in any way, shape or form.