Silence is not (and never will be) CONSENT.

“This stays between us OK.” C’mon, don’t be such a wuss.” “Oh c’mon! You’re the one that was asking for it!”.  Stop, Stop, Stop!  Is all you scream inside your head. You cannot speak, nay, you are numb in every corner of your body — yet you take it. How do I speak? Why can’t I speak? You can, but you can’t. You’re shocked and trapped inside your own mind. Your subconscious thinks the worst, making you feel things you didn’t know you could ever feel. What did I do to deserve this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You question yourself and your worth, everything you did up until now to understand why you are facing this. Will this end? No, it will not. The experience will stay forever, the trauma, the damage; it’s a permanent emotional wound. I feel disgusting… I am worthless. Maybe, this is all I’ll ever be good for. You’re wrong. You’re not alone. You WILL fight back from this. 

Sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent from the victim. It includes: attempted rape, unwanted touching, forcing someone to perform sexual acts, and, but not limited to, penetration of the victims body. Young adults, children, women and men could be  victims. However, vulnerable children and young adults face sexual assault without even understanding what is going on. 

It is difficult to protect oneself in the event of an assault, you feel trapped and numb and helpless and you take it. People often use this as an excuse to prove that the victim “asked for it”, that they simply never refused. One must remember, silence is not consent. Giving consent before performing any sexual activity must always be prioritized. 

Being forced into performing sexual activity does not always involve violence. Perpetrators use emotional coercion, manipulation and psychological tactics to persuade the victim. Threatening to hurt the victim’s family, loved ones, or the victim themself is a common tactic used by perpetrators. Yet, forcing until somebody agrees to perform sexual acts still is not, and will never be, consent.  

Approximately 8 out of 10 cases have been committed by someone known to the victim (RAINN). This makes it even harder for victims to report their cases because of the “I know them very well, they could never” from parents and friends. In such cases, victims often blame themselves for perhaps indirectly behaving in a way that encourages the perpetrator to commit the atrocities they did. It’s important to remember that the victim is never to be blamed for the actions of the perpetrator.

To prove just how important, real, and scary sexual assault is, on average, there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to 3.4 million female and 631,000 male victims (Rape Crisis). 1 in 3 female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old, similarly 1 in 4 male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old (CDC).  That 15% of cases were young adults and children aged 12-17. 

Do you realize how scary this is? Signifying that there is a ⅘ chance somebody you know may try to assault you. Understand that next time, it could be you. Now, these numbers themselves are not always reliable, as there are numerous cases where young people simply do not know that they are being assaulted, or there are people who are afraid of reporting it because they believe nothing will be done about it? 

Next time somebody tells you about their experience with assault, or tells you that they just went through it. Just be SUPPORTIVE. Do not look for ways to blame the victim or make excuses for the perpetrator. Victims go through a lot, half of it they do not explain or have any sort of way to explain. 

If you, or someone you know has experience sexual assault, look for help. Find somebody to talk to. Never blame yourself, it is not your fault. And you are not alone, there is always someone who can empathize with you, and try to make you feel better. 

Are you in immediate danger? Call The Tourist Police straight away on 1155

Are you injured? Call The Tourist Police on 1155 or Tourist Assistance Centre on 1672

You can also contact +66(0)2 305 8333 (24 hours) https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-bangkok 

– Sanya

Works Cited

CDC. “Sexual Violence Is Preventable.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Aug. 2019, http://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/sexual-violence/index.html.

RAINN. “Sexual Assault | RAINN.” Rainn.org, http://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-assault.

Rape Crisis. “Statistics – Sexual Violence | Rape Crisis England & Wales.” Rapecrisis.org.uk, 2017, rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/statistics-sexual-violence/.

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