Today is the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and while I focus on this topic year-round many people do not. Most of those people do care but they either feel the topic is too depressing, too traumatic or they feel like nothing they can do will make any positive difference.
Most survivors of sexual violence rarely, if at all, talk about being survivors which is their right (it took me decades before I could begin to speak about my experiences), but too often their silence is taken as proof that they were never victims of sexual violence or if they were that the violence committed against them had no serious negative impact.
Just as many people are woefully undereducated when it comes to sex -- from STDs to basic human biology -- many people are woefully undereducated when it comes to sexual assault. For many this lack of education has a passive effect unless they are called to be jurors on a rape trial, but for others the effect is active and negative.
The boy or man who is educated about consent only by his buddies who define rape as an attack on a stranger using a gun or a knife and who call date rape "morning after regret" might have avoided becoming a rapist if he got comprehensive sex education which included the topic of legal consent. With or without education, obeying the law is his obligation, but greater understanding might have saved his victims trauma and it might save him from becoming a criminal.
If the number of rapists and non-rapist sex criminals were reduced by half or even a third through prevention that would have a huge impact since most if not all of these people would have become serial offenders. This impact would also be personal for those who were at-risk of becoming rapists since sexual violence blocks mutuality.
Sexual predators don't have genuine sexual relationships. They will blame others for any lack of sexual satisfaction when the fault is theirs. The more they push or manipulate the worse this problem will become. Their disregard for others in one area will bleed over into other areas of their lives. When they find someone they don't want to violate sexually, that history will be present in every interaction and if there is a moment of conflict they may revert to old patternes and rape the one they love.
Doesn't sound like a happy life to me even if these people are never named as sex crime suspects.
Labels: Violence Against Women