Believe survivors always.
Coming forward about a sexual assault takes courage and can be a difficult thing to do. Survivors deserve our support always. Thinking that a person is lying about sexual assault is victim blaming and perpetuates sexualized violence.
Instead of blaming the victim, we should be holding the person who used the violence accountable for their actions. People generally don’t blame victims of physical abuse, but instead blame the attacker. This standard should be held against rapists too.
The percentage of false sexual assault reports is less than 2%. This means that 98% of reported sexual assaults are real and true. Every survivor deserves to be believed, respected, and supported.
Our society can be misogynist and sexist, at times shaming women for having a sexuality. Society sometimes blames women for being sexually assaulted, harassed, and abused. We need to work together to change these toxic beliefs and support survivors always.
Challenge victim blaming when you hear it. Say something like, “that’s not okay. It’s never someone’s fault. Victim blaming perpetuates sexualized violence.”
How to support survivors:
Tell them it’s not their fault.
Don’t ask questions about how much they had to drink or what they were wearing. This implies that you think it could be their fault.
Let them know they’re not alone. Tell them about local resources like Klinic Community Health or Heart Medicine Lodge.
If the assault just happened, help them get to a hospital or a safe place.
Ask how you can help, let them talk or be silent, remember that trauma can look a lot of different ways.
Continue to check in on them and offer support.