A few days ago, I was a guest speaker at the Vera House Tea, an annual fundraiser held in Skaneateles, New York at a beautiful lakefront home. It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and the women were so warm and friendly ~ it was such a gift to meet them and feel so welcome!!
As I continue to share my story publicly at fundraisers & special events, on college campuses and through various media outlets, I recognize how important it is to educate others on the high incidence of the crimes of Rape, Incest & Domestic Violence. Each time I have told my story, at least two people have shared their similar story with me – sometimes saying its the first time they’ve told anyone about it.
When I hear this I wonder how come as a society we stay silent and suffer for so long in isolation? Why is it so “taboo” to speak of these things? If someone broke into your home, you probably wouldn’t hesitate to call the police and report it. The officer would probably not question your story or ask you what you were wearing at the time of the crime. Nor would you be asked if you were drinking when it happened. You would be given the respect and dignity deserved of someone who had just been victimized and dealing with the aftermath of a serious crime.
So, why are those who are victimized by Rape, Incest and Domestic Violence treated differently? Why don’t we extend to them immediate credibility? Why don’t they receive the utmost respect and dignity when they finally find the courage to speak?
Six months ago a Toronto Police Officer told women at a York University assembly that they could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like “sluts”. Really? Based on the numerous other stories told of prosecution not being pursued because of how victims were treated in initial reporting stages, I’m not surprised at the frequency of these crimes going unpunished.
I decided a long time ago to publicly share my personal story as a Rape Survivor. It’s definitely a road less traveled, but my hope is that in sharing my story and producing The Clean Slate Diaries events that the discussion process surrounding these crimes will become more accepted and common place; victims will receive more credibility and respect in the admission process; and then possibly, this will translate to less abuse, violence and suffering.
And that will have made all the difference …
In solidarity, love & peace ~