Episode #9: How to Talk About Assault – Engage by Uplift

What’s up, everyone? I’m Kat Lazo, and
welcome to another episode of Engage by Uplift, a video series aimed at having
real talk for real change when it comes to sexual assault. sexual violence seems
to be a subject matter that a lot of people find difficult to tackle, but it’s
especially difficult if you yourself have actually experienced it. Often
survivors may feel embarrassed by what happened to them or even fault
themselves. But let’s be clear – and I know I’ve said this in almost every other
video – it is never your fault. I repeat: never your fault! This feeling of
embarrassment or thinking that you yourself caused this to happen can really prevent you from opening up
to people. I’d like to stress that not everyone who experiences assault or
abuse reacts in the same manner. But if and
when you do decide to open up to people about what’s happened, this video may be
a good guide on how to have those conversations. One of the best things that you can do for yourself
after experiencing sexual violence is finding someone trustworthy to talk to.
There are so many questions that run through a survivor’s mind after experiencing sexual
violence, such as: “Should I report? Should I go to the hospital? When should I go to
the hospital?” Having someone that you trust by your side could make these
decisions a lot easier. But for some folks turning to friends or family is
not an option. Remember that sexual assaults happen
the most when people are the most vulnerable, such as when they’re at a new
school or feeling alienated from a group of peers. In these types of situations
calling a hotline might be the best route for dealing with immediate
aftermath. If some time passes and you still haven’t told anyone, it can be just as
hard to open up. Silence about such a significant and traumatic event in your
life can actually make the feeling of shame stronger. You might be terrified of
how people will react. If you have reason to believe that your family will react
poorly, gather up support with your friends, a crisis center volunteer, or a counselor. In a perfect world, your friends and family would react with unconditional love and support. Unfortunately sometimes that just isn’t
the case. There is a lot of misinformation about sexual violence out
in the world. I want to be very clear that if someone
starts asking you, “What were you wearing? Why were you drinking? Why didn’t you
try harder to get away?” They’re in the wrong. There are other
people who may get very upset if you open up to them because perhaps they
went through a very similar experience, but never opened up about it. Others might just get angry. There’s
nothing you can do to control how people react. If someone makes you feel worse after you’ve opened up to them, remember that they don’t understand how
sexual violence works. They might be holding on to all this misinformation,
like thinking that rapes often happened by strangers, which is not true! They
might wholeheartedly believe that there are certain things that we should do in
order to prevent ourselves from experiencing sexual violence such as
not wearing certain things, not going out at night, not drinking, not being a woman! But remember that if those things were true, we would have eradicated sexual violence
a long time ago. Remember, it’s not your fault and you did not deserve this. For this week’s call to action I’d like to
hear what you would say to someone who is having a bad reaction hearing about a
sexual assault. What would you say to someone who started getting very angry
or started blaming the victim or insisted that this person is making it
all up? Share your answers using the hashtag #engageuplift on social media and of course in our comments down below. an increasing number of survivors are
choosing to share their experiences publicly online. This has created an
amazing cultural force of people joining together to create change. When people
share their stories publicly, they’re standing up and refusing to be shamed.
When you share publicly it encourages other people to do the same. They may
also come to you privately to share similar experiences. You can build a
community of survivors which can be in itself so therapeutic but it can also
serve to help other survivors. But remember that publicly disclosing what has
happened to you is a choice. You don’t have to do that. not all survivors want the
responsibility of being an activist telling strangers online means that
knowledge of your assault is available for anyone to see. It will leave you open
for increased threats and online harassment. It will mean that people that don’t even know you will know what happened. They may not be as sensitive when talking
about the trauma that happened in your life. You’re not weak or a coward for
choosing to be private about it. Remember that everyone heals differently. It’s
completely up to you whether you want to tell people online. The internet has a
way of being really polarizing; you can receive lots of love and support from people around the world that you don’t even know, but you can also receive a lot of threats
and online harassment. there’s no right or wrong answer here. The choice to disclose to
family, friends, or complete strangers, or disclose at all for that matter is
completely up to you. If you have questions about getting help after an
assault or an abuse, please make sure to check out our previous video. It has lots of
resources that can help you get through it. Alright that’s it for this week, thank
you so much for watching. Don’t forget to answer our call to action: What
are some good things to say to someone who is having a bad reaction to hearing
about an assault or an abuse? Share your answers on social media using the
hashtag #engageuplift or in our comments down below. And while you’re at it, why not
give this video a thumbs up if you found it helpful and subscribe. I’m your host Kat Lazo, TheeKatsMeoww, and I’ll see you next week. Bye!

5 thoughts on “Episode #9: How to Talk About Assault – Engage by Uplift

  1. I think the first thing to do in a situation where someone is victim blaming is to remove them from the situation with that survivor. There are a lot of things that you could say to correct their specific misconceptions, but someone who came to them for help after a traumatic experience doesn't need to be part of that education unless they choose to be, and even if they choose to be, they don't deserve to be demeaned for what happened to them even by someone who's ignorant.

  2. If someone was robbed nobody asks "did you leave the door unlocked?" You help them. If someone is sexually assulted don't ask about the circumstances the same way you wouldn't ask about the circumstances of a different crime. You instead ask if they are hurt and what help they need.

  3. What if I have done everything from blaming the victim and avoiding them and still can't accept the fact that it happened? What should be done? Help

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