Category: Guest bloggers
Underreporting of sexual assault is a problem we hear about frequently in Canada and around the world. Whether that underreporting is a result of police negligence, underfunding of sexual assault centres, police forces and labs, a biased judicial process, or poor sexual education in schools, what’s often missing from the discussion is recognition of how culture influences our understanding of sexual assault.
Culture is significant – it shapes who we are, our morals, ethics, principles, and how we connect to one another. Patriarchy, as a dominant force in Canadian culture, shapes who we become as individuals and who we are as a society.
When someone tells you about their experience of sexual assault, it can be difficult to know how to react. You may struggle to know what to say or worry about saying the wrong thing. You may want to help and be supportive, but not know how.
It’s important to understand that when someone shares their experience with you, the best thing you can do is listen to their feelings, thoughts and needs, and to support them in their healing process, whatever that may be. Everyone who experiences sexual assault will have different ways to handle the situation and to heal.
Music is powerful. It’s a medium like no other – thoughts, feelings and raw emotions laced with rhythms and chord progressions that keep the message flowing.
Music for so many is an escape. It provides a chance to reflect on personal events that happen in life and an opportunity to relate to another human being. Who hasn’t said at one point “hey, that line says exactly how I feel right now…”
But what happens when that line brings to light an experience that you’ve worked hard to forget? Or gives you chilling insight into someone else’s pain?
I wrote a blog post recently about a man getting in my space and creeping me out in an elevator, and posted the link to my Facebook page. I couldn’t believe the chorus of voices that rose up in the comments to defend him, and defend men in general, as though I had somehow accused them all. There were even comments about how my fearful attitude is partly responsible for “attracting these types of situations”.
It blew my mind how quickly people jumped to the man’s defense, and also questioned my read of the situation, as though they, people who were not present, somehow understood what happened better than I did.