For those who have never been a victim of sexual assault, most assume it occurs in a dark alley walking home alone at night.
But sexual assault can happen anywhere. At the hands of your spouse, in broad daylight or in my case, a crowded bar with dozens of people surrounding me.
Last Friday night, I went out to celebrate my brother’s graduation with half a dozen close family and friends. We stopped off at a couple places before landing in a loud crowded bar in a nice area of town. We listened to music, danced and when the drinks ran low, we shuffled our way back to the bar in a single file line.
As we were shuffling, I was last in line when a male in his mid-to-late 20’s reached out and groped my breasts right in the middle of the bar.
The second it happened, I just froze.
I didn’t know what to do or how to react and after a few seconds thinking, “What the f**k just happened?” I said nothing and continued to make my way through the crowd to join my group. My brother saw I was visibly pissed as my mannerisms changed immediately.
I explained to the group, “That dude just groped me. I should have f**cking hit him,” as anger and disgust at myself started to increase.
I felt (feel) ashamed I didn’t do more.
After my brother calmed me down a bit and we made our way back to our previously claimed spot.
The music was barely loud enough to drown out internal questioning until I realized THE SAME DUDE started making his way towards me. I froze like a deer in headlights. Again.
“If he takes one more step towards you, I’m having words,” is what my brother and his marine friend said as the drunk continued to shuffle towards us. My brother stepped up to him, had some words and the bar security team was quick to act. I automatically assumed we would all be kicked out and I’d have to face this guy again outside so I started chugging my drink to quell my nerves.
Luckily, we didn’t get kicked out. The bouncers actually listened to the concerns of our group and the drunken idiot was kicked out, leaving us to salvage the rest of the night.
I consider myself a strong woman who’s not afraid to speak her mind but immediately following this situation, I still started questioning myself:
“I shouldn’t have worn this shirt.”
“I shouldn’t have ordered that second drink.”
“Maybe if I had avoided both of those things, I wouldn’t have been violated.”
I was blaming myself for what a drunken idiot had no right to do.
And that right there is one of the biggest issues with how sexual assault is taught and treated.
A few years ago, a controversial AMA— acronym for ‘Ask Me Anything’— on Reddit posed the question to previous sexual perpetrators to inquire why they assaulted someone, if they regret it and if they would do it again.
And just recently, a new research team used those AMA answers, combined them with previous documented research and found that victim blaming from both the perpetrator and the victim is one of the biggest factors contributing to sexual assaults.
Just read this tweet from the study and try not to get disgusted:
I’m sick pic.twitter.com/B3OqqfFG41
— Blythe Brumleve (@blythebrum) June 7, 2016
For so long, sexual assault victims have chosen to avoid going to the police when they’ve been violated. And many of those who do come forward are forced to wait YEARS for their rape case to be processed which leaves many to ask “Why bother?” when they’ve been violated.
My case is minor compared to the deplorable actions of convicted rapist Brock Turner and what you read in the links above. The letter written by Turner’s victim and read in court gives a voice to sexual assault survivors everywhere.
While I highly encourage reading the full letter, her closing statement gave me comfort to numerous victims of sexual assault, including myself.
And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.
The coincidental timing of my incident and this letter has since lit a fire under me. Because when/if the next time something like this happens to me, I don’t want to freeze. I want to fight back. So I signed up to take an in-depth rape prevention self defense class, I started adding additional home security measures and believe we can help avoid future sexual assaults by some easily attainable methods:
biggest takeaways from this:
-educate kids at young age
-take self defense classes
-step the f**ck up if you suspect shady stuff going down
— Blythe Brumleve (@blythebrum) June 7, 2016
We can’t solve all rape and sexual assaults quickly. But if we take it upon ourselves to prepare for the worst + hope for the best, educate our youth and keep the mindset “It takes a village to raise a child,” we can help cut down on the number of future victims.
It’s not all serious talk with us on this week’s show. Check the lineup below for highlights.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SHOW
03:26 Ayesha Curry, Twitter threats and fans that dress too provocatively?
12:48 More chatter on women who attend live sporting events looking to get some athlete action
17:50 Studs of the Week
28:04 Duds of the Week
42:32 Stanford Rape Case and the letter that went viral
64:09 NFL gets hacked
01:09:15 NFL in Vegas and our thoughts on Muhammad Ali
Featured image via Torch
This video from Blue Seat Studios is everything.