Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Most Damning of All

I wrote this and sent it in as a 'letter-to-the-editor to a newspaper. Although I'm not sure if it's been published, or will be in the future, it still felt good to do it. Scary, but also freeing.

  'As May is ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’, I wanted to speak out and do my part in ending the silence.

Silence about sexual violence is one of the most prevalent problems facing society today. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable with the subject – we should feel appalled about such crimes – but that doesn’t excuse the lack of dialogue about it either.

Silence can be more damning than anything. Silence plays a large role in perpetuating sexual violence and the myths that surround both the perpetrators and the victims. And chances are that many of you know someone who has experienced some form of sexual violence, whether it be rape, assault, or abuse.  The statistics, if you care to look for them, are pretty scary. Did you know, for example, that only 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail? The other 97% walk away free.

Silence leaves the victims alone, in the dark, feeling that they do not have a voice.  I want all survivors to know that you do have a voice; that when you’re ready, your voice will be there. Your voice is one of the many things that can never be taken from you.  I know because I was a victim of sexual abuse. I have been a survivor for ten years.  And I believe that it is long past time to end the silence.