they say “why didn’t you fight back?”
Let me think this thru. ..
- because the person who is now in arms’ reach wants to humiliate me and overpower me. They are in a rage already. And me fighting back might be the difference between me living and dying. IMO.
I can heal from bruises.
I can heal from vaginal or anal lesions
I can heal from broken bones.
I can heal from feeling scared and ashamed.
And I’d rather do that than fight with someone who is showing me they have no respect for me or my health and safety.
- then there’s the factor that not all rape is violent. Well not physically anyway. It is sexually and emotionally aggressive. But a lot of rape and molestation is about the relationship and it’s power dynamics. Or it might be about getting you drunk or high so you aren’t combative. You aren’t alert. Or aware. Or it might be seductive or coercive rather than violent. So how does fighting back help there?
Ultimately, even a black belt martial artist can be taken down, so how does fighting back ensure that my efforts succeed? Against someone who is:
My parent or another adult when I’m a child?
An authority figure who determines my future in work, school, life
A caretaker I rely on
My male partner? (date, spouse, friend, neighbour)
[usually men are the offenders, usually they are bigger by at least a stone than their target, but yes women are sexually aggressive as well]
Someone who I have complex feelings for and even when they are hurting me, I can’t hurt them back. How does it resolve the issue of my safety? Beyond this moment when I need to stop the assault? I could make it worse to be around them in the longer run by fighting back.
Bottom line, I need to survive this moment, this day. So unless I feel I have the mad skills of a black belt martial artist, fighting back might not be my best option. And even black belts can be taken down. (yes I said it twice, it bears repeating!)
So I hope people stop shaming victims by asking this question.
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