To Protect the Guilty Victim

This is a fictionalized conversation I imagine sums up the problem of society turning the tables on sexually assaulted victims. Photo Credit: Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

 

Victim: -“What will be done to him?”

Society: “That depends on if you want to submit a formal report to begin an investigation.”

-“Okay, I do.”

“Let’s take some time to think about this. It is a long and drawn out process.”

-“Okay.”

“You may be hurt in the process.”

-“How?”

“People won’t believe you.”

-“I know what happened. I can’t control what other people think.”

“But think of his family.”

-“His family?”

“Yes, think of how devastated they would be if this got out.”

-“If this got out?”

“If you followed through with reporting this.”

-“But he didn’t think of his family when he did this to me. Why should I?”

“What he did to you is still in question.”

-“Why is it in question? I already told you what happened.”

“But there is the question of proof. Of circumstance.”

-“You don’t believe me?”

“These charges are serious.”

-“So is what happened to me.”

“You can’t just ruin this man’s life because of something that may have been misinterpreted.”

-“There is no other way to interpret what he did.”

“You will find, if this does get reported, that there are many ways.”

-“What about him ruining my life?”

“You are young. You will be fine.”

-“So you just allow him to continue on like nothing ever happened?”

“Nothing has officially been reported against him.”

-“That’s what I’m trying to do.”

“We will monitor him.”

-“How?”

“Check in on him every now and then.”

-“Won’t he know that’s what you’re doing? He can find other ways to hide what he’s doing.”

“But we don’t know for sure what he’s doing.”

-“I just told you.”

“But this is one instance.”

-“Maybe others are too afraid to come forward because of how you treat them.”

“I am not treating you in any particular way.”

-“You are telling me not to report someone who has sexually assaulted me.”

“I did not specifically tell you that.”

-“You are pressuring me not to by providing multiple reasons to keep quiet.”

“That is only how you are interpreting this conversation.”

-“Just like how I interpreted what happened?”

“Perhaps you just need to take some time to think about it.”

-“I do think about it. Every time I close my eyes it’s there. I can’t escape it.”

“It sounds like you need some psychological help. Have you seen a counselor?”

-“Yes, the counselor agrees with me that I need to speak out.”

“Counselors say a lot of things to make you feel better.”

-“Why suggest I see one if you don’t respect what they say?”

“I would have suggested one I already know and trust.”

-“You mean one who would tell me what you want them to tell me?”

“I mean one who has worked with us and understands the delicate nature of these situations.”

-“These situations? Plural?”

“Situations in general.”

-“No, you said these situations as in this one specifically. Who else has come to you?”

“Come now, privacy is key. You wouldn’t want us telling others that you were here.”

-“Except that I am here telling you I want you to tell others I am here.”

“Who?”

-“The right people.”

“Who are the right people?”

-“The people who will listen to me and see that justice is done.”

“You just want someone to tell you what you want to hear.”

-“No, I want to report what happened and open an investigation. I want the others you have silenced to hear me and to know they can speak. I want you to understand that this silencing game is over.

What are your thoughts?