From finances to grades to sex — it’s all about numbers.
- 1 in 6 American women are raped in their lifetime.
- Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
With this kind of intimate violence being so pervasive, there is still a stigma surrounding survivors of this trauma. Disproportionately, victims are women and disproportionately this stigma effects women. If one only looks at the reported numbers.
When the victim or survivor has suffered at the hands of a person of stature and power, the effects of this trauma are amplified.
The formula is the same with few changes to the variables. There’s a man of power or influence interacting with a young girl. Or perhaps that same young man was under the influence of something when a sexual assault occurs. Another formulaic variance is the reckless young man assaults a woman only to reach an elevated position in the public eye in the passage of time.
There is no acknowledgment of the attack.
No mention of the incident is made outside a secured social circle.
With the encouragement of those in therapeutic settings, or secure interpersonal relationships, survivors do what they should have when the incident occurred.
Imagine that! The result of telling the worse possible thing that happened to you is a waiting tsunami to silence you.
Belief in the evil of people considered to be good is more than some people can handle. This tsunami of indignation, suspicion of time frames or situations, all fueled by the court of public opinion pundits.
There’s nothing like admitting the most horrible thing in your personal past to the world only to be called attention-seeking, a liar and a whore.
This didn’t start with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. This didn’t start with Dr. Anita Hill. This didn’t start with the recent flood of women who accused the sitting American president of something of the same ilk. Something that as a father of a daughter, one would hope he would never want her to deal with.
It’s all numbers. Everything is scrutinized from the victim’s age to how long she took to tell.
It is the default position to not believe women when numbers are concerned. Maybe this is due to biologic composition, the hormonal-cycling of our bodies or the ability to bleed for days and not die; nothing about a woman is certain.
Women are not predictable or pattern-based like numbers are. Except in the matter of voting. That’s when women factor in the grander vision of a nation. This is when women are seen, concerns heard and histories matter. Numbers determine the pass/fail of a bill, electoral college votes or even the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice. Cold, hard, predictable numbers.
The silence of a victimized women yields profit. Those profits, those numbers, control the one thing the establishment loves — power. Sexual assault is about power. Why wouldn’t power be consolidated with resources available to the exclusion of outside accusations?
From those numbers in the time it took for to read this, at least four people were sexually assaulted. At least half of those people will be women. Those women may tell one other person. Those women are the part of the potential voting age in a nation of almost 325 million people.
With 63 percent of sexual assaults going unreported, the last thing to be concerned about is how long reporting took. Maybe the bigger concern is why it happened in the first place.
[Image via screencap]