People ask why Bill Cosby’s victims waited so long to say anything. People ask why it took years for his victims to come forward and do something about it. Rape survivors often keep quiet, as do child sexual abuse survivors, but why? There are plenty of psychological studies and reasons why victims don’t always disclose, but today, let’s talk about our role as a society in why victims don’t come forward.
Consider this example; there are many. Singer Kesha, who her producer raped, has said she was too scared to go to the police but did eventually report the alleged crime to doctors. And now that she has come forward, fellow singer Taylor Swift donated to her legal cause, and this was the aftermath, according to Daily News, of one artist coming to the aid of another:
“Despite the huge gift, Taylor was attacked by Demi Lovato for not speaking out on the issue and suggesting the donation was only to ‘further her brand.’ Demi said she was sick of female singers using feminism to ‘further brands without actually being the ones to have uncomfortable conversations.’ After news of Taylor’s donation broke, Demi hopped on Twitter to fire off tweets asserting that donating just her cash wasn’t good enough. ‘Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I’ll be impressed,’ she wrote, seeming to refer to Taylor’s donation.”
I understand that we need to talk about uncomfortable issues. I understand that passing legislation is key to stemming the tide against abuse. I also understand that a legal battle needs funding. But I don’t understand how donating to another person’s cause is terrible. It isn’t. And neither is speaking out or igniting difficult conversations. But what one person can and will do to help another shouldn’t be condemned by anyone else. More importantly, if this is how we treat the people who help victims, is it any wonder why victims keep silent?
What can we do?
We can learn that not every person deals with every tragedy or circumstance the same way we might. We can act with empathy and understanding when discussing rape and all types of abuse. We can show our children that there are many ways to help – and not one way is the right or the only way. We can teach our children by example that survivors need our support, not our judgment, and so do the people that help said, survivors.
I hope this gives you something to think consider. Peace.
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!