Number one most important thing to know: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. PERIOD. If you have been physically or sexually assaulted, you are not to blame.
You can, however, learn to do things that can help prevent you from ending up in a situation that is unsafe. This doesn’t mean if something happens, or if you don’t do those prevention tips and are assaulted that it’s your fault. Again, IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT. The world and society has a lot of work to do to make it safe for young women no matter where. By helping show you ways to keep safe, we are in no way saying that it’s your responsibility.
This IS victim blaming:
- You made me feel… so I …
- You wore…
- You chose to be alone
- You said…
- You should have known better
THESE ARE NOT TRUE. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
Sometimes we share ideas and tips about how to stay safe because the world has a lot to do to end violence, but in no way makes it your fault if you are assaulted or raped.
This is NOT victim blaming:
- Learning how to make choices about where you go and what you do is not victim blaming, until we can make the world a better and safer place for everyone, making choices to stay safe is okay.
- Learning about risks and prevention strategies is not blaming the victim, it’s helping to protect people while we also fight to change how society currently is.
- Learning about what healthy relationships are and how to spot signs of a dysfunctional relationship is not saying that it’s a victim’s choice, it’s helping to break very difficult cycles.
- Taking care of our own health, getting help to heal from past relationships, and looking at ways that we can love ourselves better may help us not get into an abusive relationship, but it wouldn’t be our fault if we did.
- Understanding laws, processes and resources that relate to assault and rape is not making it your responsibility, it’s arming you with tools and supports to know what to expect and help you through a very difficult process.
Ruston Fellows writes about the roles of Indigenous peoples in ending violence against Indigenous women and girls.