Reading Night Terrors can be extremely difficult to anybody, even if you dont have experienced an assault like that. Sexual assault is one of the most dehumanizing types of abuse. It attacks you where you are most vulnerable and makes you doubt everything about yourself. It makes you wonder why victims tend to ask themselves was it my fault?. Unfortunately, victims have the tendencies to believe that they brought the trauma upon themselves and that the assault is their punishment for being “bad” or inadequate, as it was showed when the first assault occurred and she asked herself Was I a bad girl? What did I do to deserve this?.
The idea that victims of sexual assault are somehow to blame because they didn’t take the necessary steps to protect themselves is something that is woven into the fabric of society and how people react to sexual assault, people tend to label or to accused the victim by saying things like she must have provoked him, she shouldn’t have been wearing that kind of clothes or the popular “ella se lo estaba buscando”. Which is why it should really come as no surprise that survivors blame themselves; it seems that society only takes rape seriously when the victim was violently overtaken by a stranger jumping out of the bushes. However for most of the victims, the rapists were wolves in sheep’s clothing. They were their dates, their friends, their teachers or even their fathers.
As a child, we learn to protect ourselves from strangers, so we grow up assuming a rape cannot possibly occur between friends or family members, but sadly, most of the time a person is raped by someone they know, trust, or love. It is hard to accept that a person they spent Christmas dinners with, or someone who came to their birthday parties, had the capacity to commit one of the most heinous crimes known to humankind, but is possible.
It can happen to you, to me or to anybody and the most helpful thing we can do is to stop saying the classing lines that only help to reinforce the victim blaming.