Why don't more women support
female victims of sexual assault?
December 11, 2008 | After an incident where a woman
had felt sexually violated, many times it is better
for her to open up to a man rather than another woman
about what happened and how she feels.
Typically, when a woman tells a man about another
man hurting her, he responds with the ever so familiar
masculine phrase, "Who is this guy? Do you want me to
go beat him up? Because I will." But sadly, when she
opens up to a woman, the response is, "Well, you must
have done something to give him the wrong idea," or
"it probably wasn't on purpose. I'm sure he's sorry."
One of the biggest reasons sex crimes go unreported
and unaddressed is because of pain and embarrassment,
but also because of lack of support from other women.
I don't understand why some women do this to each other.
A perfect example of this is the story of a girl I
know. This girl had a good friend whom she felt she
could trust. She would confide in him and felt very
close with him. He was aware of her standards and feelings
because of this confidence they shared. One night this
girl fell asleep on her living room couch while this
friend was talking to her roommates. It was something
that had happened before, and the guy would usually
just leave. This night, however, he didn't. Instead,
after everyone had gone to bed, he lay down on the couch
next to her. She woke up a few hours later to him holding
her and touching her in inappropriate places.
She didn't know what to do. When she told a male friend
about it, not thinking of it being that big of a deal,
he firmly told her that it was and that something needed
to be done about it.
When the girl's roommate found out what had happened,
she told her, "It was an accident. He thought you were
his girlfriend. You need to stop making such a big deal
about all of this."
This girl's roommate, with one single phrase, magnified
the pain of the whole situation.
Why can't more women support each other? This is one
question that has haunted me for the past three years
as I have heard story after story like the previous
example, ranging from an unwanted kiss to rape.
I know that there are women in this world who serve
as a great refuge to those who have been hurt and violated.
But there are still women out there who continue to
rip down and demean others of their gender simply by
not being supportive when support is needed more than
If a female has felt betrayed or violated by a male,
there is usually a reason for it. Furthermore, if the
female opens up about it to someone else, whether male
or female, it means that something needs to be done
about it. It's not always a case that needs to include
the police, but it's usually a case where she just needs
to talk to find a way to deal with the situation.
The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA)
says, "one of the hardest parts of surviving sexual
assault is feeling alone and separate from everyone
else. If you can find a supportive and understanding
person to talk to, it can help you work through your
I may not be able to change the world with what I
have to say, but I can at least make my point and get,
if even just a few people, to think about it. Now all
that's left is what is to be done about the situation.
The solution is to decide for yourself to be the one
whom others can turn to.
For additional information or support about sexual
abuse, visit the CAPSA website at www.capsa.org
or call their office at (435)753-2500.