December 2020

Survivors Stories: Why Anti-Sexual Violence Work is Important

Guest Blog Written by: @shareyourstorybing

Rape culture affects us all; it infiltrates and sickens the minds of well-meaning individuals, it distorts our perceptions of the world and each other, it contributes to the pain of countless survivors (and their friends and families), it allows for the dehumanization and degradation of those oppressed by patriarchy, it drains us of our compassion, and it strips us of our sense of community and closeness. 

Combatting rape culture and sexual violence may not be easy, and it may not be comfortable, but it is essential to building a better world for everyone. 

How can we care for each other as human beings when such harmful divides and excruciating losses are formed from this violence? How can we ensure communal safety when sexual violence looms overhead as a constant, tragically ignored, terribly misunderstood threat? How can we thrive as a society, and as individuals, when so many of us have portions of our lives and our minds stolen away from us by trauma? How can we confront perpetrators and hold them accountable when, by the nature of the crime and our shameful “justice” system, rape is never prevented, rarely reported, and seldom punished—and its punishment relies on a carceral system which only serves to harm survivors? 

The answers to these questions are simple, yet complex: we cannot care for each other properly, we cannot ensure mutual safety, we cannot blossom en masse, we cannot approach perpetration with prevention and accountability, without anti-sexual-violence work. This work seeks to create new structures, outlets, cultural understandings, supports, and dialogues that were not previously available to survivors, to replace those that did not ever serve survivors, and to introduce beautiful and needed paths to healing that have never before existed. This work aims to not only put an end to the pervasive and insidious phenomenon that is sexual violence, but also intends to conceive of survivor-centered movements and frameworks which aid survivors during this epidemic of sexual violence—one which is unfortunately ongoing, and seemingly indefinite. 

We strive to imagine a world where there is no sexual violence, but more immediately, we imagine a world where survivors can exist and heal and breathe independently from all forms violence: removed and protected from their abusers, free from the burden and sacrifice that is retelling their trauma to parties who will not benefit them, unrestrained by the few options they have in either submitting to the police and a broken judicial system or silencing themselves. 

We imagine a world where survivors can come together in solidarity and love, one where survivors are held and affirmed and validated, and one where survivors can heal on their own terms and receive justice by any means necessary.

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How can we confront perpetrators and hold them accountable when, by the nature of the crime and our shameful “justice” system, rape is never prevented, rarely reported, and seldom punished—and its punishment relies on a carceral system which only serves to harm survivors?