🛑 trigger warning for mention of sexual abuse 🛑 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This week has me reeling in pain and anger, and PTSD symptoms that I’ve generally been managing well for the past few months have returned. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I don’t feel safe or welcome in a country and culture that won’t believe women, that trivializes sexual harassment and abuse, and empathizes more with the “plight” of the accused than with the pain of accusers, victims, and survivors of sexual violence. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When I was eighteen, a man I worked with, whom I thought I could trust, drugged and raped me. I reported it. He was investigated by the police and fired from his job. Although there was photographic evidence of the assault, during which I was not coherent and visibly barely conscious, the attorney assigned to my case (a woman, for the record) discouraged me from taking him to trial. “It will be your word against his, and do you really want to confront him in a courtroom, and have to look at the photos he took of you projected up on the wall? Do you want your family to see those photos?” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I wish I hadn’t listened to her. I wish she could have represented me in a justice system that BELIEVES women, instead of putting them on trial for being victimized and abused and having the courage to speak out. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My rapist walks free, gets to exhibit his shitty art and have his sculptures publicly displayed. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When we don’t believe survivors, when we silence them, or encourage them to drop charges or put it behind them, this is what we are doing: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Men who walk free (and most of them do), such as my rapist, learn nothing. There is no system in place for rehabilitation. And if I *had* taken him to trial I would have much preferred to see him sentenced to inpatient psychological treatment, rather than go to prison. Hell, I would have participated in his treatment myself, so he could have a chance to really understand what he did and how it fucked up my life. ❌ Instead, he just had to find a new job, while I was forced to leave work for six months and go to weekly counseling sessions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When you do not believe women, you are enabling rapists and abusers. THE FUCKING END.