A question I am frequently asked whether I am filling out an application, talking to someone, or reflecting on myself, and I am sure many of you have been asked the same, is:
“What matters to you?”
For me, voices.
One battle I have fought for a long time is against the silence that is often forced upon victims of sexual assault. Victim blaming and shaming is too common, especially towards women. Instead of empathy, victims are faced with doubt and opposition. They are either not believed or made to feel at fault. They become the focal point of the assault. They shouldn’t have been dressed like that. They shouldn’t have been dancing provocatively. Basically, they were asking for it. This is what they become accustomed to and this becomes their twisted reality.
I want them to break through that silence. Their voices matter to me and I will fight to create an environment for them where they are finally acknowledged, supported, and safe. I believe victim blaming and shaming plays a big role in the existence of rape culture today. Let’s fight to empower voices by supporting victims of sexual assault when others are trying to tear them down. Let’s stand up for them and with them so they are never silenced again.
Written by: Emita Amatya