The courage it takes to speak up against sexualized violence

I often hear that I am courageous for speaking my truth about sexualized violence in my life and its prevalence in America. Yeah, I know. But what is this courage really about?

I’m not courageous because I speak my truth. I’m courageous because I speak my truth despite knowing that the system is set up to protect the abuser instead of me.  That’s where the courage comes from, speaking up in an unsafe environment.

“The legal system is designed to protect men from the superior power of the state but not to protect women or children from the superior power of men. It therefore provides strong guarantees for the rights of the accused but essentially no guarantees for the rights of the victim. If one set out by design to devise a system for provoking intrusive post-traumatic symptoms, one could not do better than a court of law.” — Judith Lewis Herman, MD in “Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror”

Sometimes I am concerned that my military sexual assault case will be blown off as unimportant since there was no skin contact or penetration. But the perpetrator did not have to do those things to accomplish his goal, which was to dominate my body with his and show me that there was nothing I could do. He was right. Until now. May justice prevail.

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