Sexual abuse or harassment of any kind, partly moulds a girl into the woman she becomes in the future. To some, it might be what encourages the feeling to be successful. While to others, it could be what destroys the reasoning faculty. Whatever road she applies, either towards destruction or fulfilment, she finally reaches a place were she owns up to being a victim. This might not necessary be for the purpose of seeking validation or sympathy from the public, it could be a means of conquering those hidden fears that had suppressed her true purpose for as long as she can remember. Finally switching off the ticking explosives set around her existence and withdrawing from a universe were she had deprived her being from loving herself and others. Unfortunately, the claim of being a victim of sexual exploits, especially after so many years, is mainly perceived as a campaign directed against a person. Hence, holding views considered to be unorthodox or a threat to the society.
Still confused as to were these ideas originated from and as to why there is systemic prejudice against women, a young girl freely gives in to this ideology. Beliefs which enslaves the mind from rebellion and a mouth to everlasting silence, she conceals being a victim of sexual abuse, due to the fear of being unjustly labelled.
Is this the main reason why young women stay quiet after being sexually abused or harassed? and why does she feel the need to speak out after so many years?. What changed?
These questions, controversial as it may seem, there has to be some sort of explanation as to why she finally speaks and what kept her quiet initially. Owing to existing facts of many similar cases intended for the purpose of witch-hunting prominent individuals, people collectively tend to think that there must be a selfish motive behind speaking out after several years. Aside from the radical views, the unwillingness to believe her story also stems from or is attributable to lapses of recollecting specific information needed for conviction. Therefore, she is regrettably branded as a liar for many unexplainable loopholes in her story and for that reason, she is not treated with the respect and sympathy due to a victim of sexual abuse.
Firstly, before she became a victim without remedy, she was already perceived as a substandard object of the society! One who is subjected to contemptuous and dismissive language or behaviour as she walks by to school, work or amongst a social gathering. It is no news that women are placed below the belt, seen as inferior beings from time. it an icing on her already baked cake when she is blamed and mocked for any unwanted sexual advances and obscene remarks.
She never escapes a scrutiny from the public eye, regardless of if her life is at stake or unlawfully taken, snatched by the cold hands of her dominant.
To those who are quick to point the “why now?” finger, here is a little explanation for you.
No matter how you digest it, a woman’s worth depreciates when she is continually tagged with unpleasant situations. Aside from other shameful deeds which mostly takes 1 point or 2 point highest, sexual abuse takes about 5 points of shame if she only had 20 shame slots for a lifetime. When a fellow “object of ridicule” visually discern or gives ear to the demeaning sentiment expressed towards a sexually abused victim, her sensory nerves according to its stages of development, mainly at its earliest, immediately signals the reasoning faculty to withhold any information regarding sexual harassment or abuse. Reason being that, chastising others for eventually speaking or expressing ones’s feelings, forces her to conceal any form of a similar incident. Hence, refusing to speak about the exploit in a bid to protect what is left of her self-worth. This is why I would second to the silence of suffering and loosing a delicate part of oneself to the ugly incident, until it becomes an choice which she can handle with confidence.
Also, why I think some victims finally speak is to relinquish any form of bad energy or heavy burden left from that horrific day. Truth be told, numerous women still have not gathered enough courage to speak a word of that day, as it is with absolute difficulty, yet courageous to finally accept to be a victim of sexual abuse. A can of worms is unveiled, however more dreadful to the public ears depending on the relationship between her and her abuser. Frightening and shocking revelations of sexual abuse in the hands of close relations are strong reasons to believe most women are silent even in their graves. However, I think it is a form of relief, a process of healing when these women eventually speak regardless of time. Since people take different times to heal, just as they are dissimilar in nature. Therefore, victims of sexual abuse should not be reprimanded for not speaking during the time of abuse.