‘It Was My Fault,’ And Other Things Victims Of Sexual Assault Mistakenly Tell Themselves

Twenty20 / arinaerish
Twenty20 / arinaerish

It was my fault because no one believed me. What actually happened is probably just an exaggeration. “Not saying that your story isn’t true, but…”

It was my fault because I should have been smarter. I knew what could happen if I didn’t have my guard up all the time.

It was my fault because I had a reputation. “A girl like that probably asked for it.”

It was my fault because I’d been drinking and wasn’t in control. I knew better than to get tipsy at a party with my friends.

It was my fault because I thought I was surrounded by people who would protect me, who were supposed to protect me. I knew them. I knew him. I didn’t expect this to happen to me. Not again.

It was my fault because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me. Didn’t you learn your lesson the first time? Or was that just a lie too?

It was my fault because of the way that I was dressed. I knew better than to wear something that low cut and short.

It was my fault because no one felt bad for me; because I probably deserved it. What goes around comes around when you’re a whore.

It was my fault because I trusted him, because I followed him when a little voice in the back of my head told me not to.

It was my fault because that was out of character for him. He would never do a thing like that, so it must not have happened.

It was my fault because I let him lie to his friends about his intentions with me.

It was my fault because I should have stopped him sooner.

It was my fault because kissing you must mean I want to go all the way, right?

It was my fault because when I said “no,” I must not have sounded convincing enough.

It was my fault because “of course you want to fuck me, you’re a slut.”

It was my fault because when I tried to get away, I couldn’t. I was a pushover and didn’t want to cause a confrontation and get aggressive. I wasn’t firm enough.

It was my fault because when I said “you’re hurting me” he thought it was a rouse I was pulling. I must not have been stern enough. I must have been playing hard to get.

It was my fault because I led him on.

It was my fault because I didn’t shut up and take it.

It was my fault because I made myself too easy. It was my fault because when he asked if I was going to tell people what happened, I said no. I lied. If nothing wrong had happened, why couldn’t I tell people? No harm, no foul, right?

It was my fault that rumors started going around. It was my fault that people were finding out and he was going to get in trouble.

It was my fault.

Except for the fact that it wasn’t my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

Why are we teaching girls to be defensive when we should be teaching boys not to take advantage of them? Why do we slut shame and make girls feel guilty for the things that boys get congratulated for? Why don’t we believe it when we hear stories about sexual assault and assume that there must be some kind of misunderstanding? Why is being drunk an excuse for a boy to assault someone, but being drunk isn’t an excuse for the girl when she’s being taken advantage of? If she shouldn’t have gotten drunk enough to get assaulted, shouldn’t he have stayed sober enough to not hurt her?

Why do we find every reason to believe that the boy didn’t do it even if the girl has proof? Why did I have to hear such cruel words to understand? Why is it assumed that if a girl is easy she is lying to get attention? Why is it assumed that a bad reputation is an invitation to take advantage of someone? Why doesn’t no mean no? Why did I have to write this whole thing to convince myself that I am right and why do I still feel like I don’t believe myself?

It wasn’t my fault.

No does mean no. There is no excuse for making someone so uncomfortable they reach the point of tears. There is no excuse for taking advantage of someone and threatening them so they don’t tell anyone what you did. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing. It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard about her. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to move on after a tough break up. Kissing is not an invitation for sex. No means no. When she changes her mind, it means no. If she was never going to do it in the first place, that doesn’t mean “convince me,” it means no.

No woman should ever feel the embarrassment of sexual assault. No woman should feel ashamed because she thinks it is her fault. No woman should ever cry because she was forced into something she didn’t want to do. No woman should ever have to hear the words, “she deserved it because she was probably leading him on.”

She didn’t deserve it because it wasn’t her fault.

It isn’t her fault and it’s not my fault.

If you read the beginning of this and thought it seemed messed up that someone could even blame themselves for being assaulted, I have a news flash. It happens all the time. Society has brainwashed young girls into thinking they are the only ones that are in charge of saying no and stopping something like this. Victim blaming has become too common.

Please believe me. It’s too late for me, but it isn’t too late for someone else. It wasn’t, it isn’t, and it will never be your fault. When you’re the victim, it isn’t your fault. TC mark

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