During this April, the campaign for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) focuses on healthy sexuality and child sexual abuse prevention. SAAM encourages people to join the conversation. Ok, let’s start conversing.
My recent Google search of rape culture opened my eyes to the apparent rage against prevention of victimization, trauma, and injury. Numerous news articles, commentaries, and even YouTube videos rage against our culture’s emphasis on prevention that causes victims to be occupied with guilt and self-blame. Remember Ms. Megan Williams, the black woman who was victimized by six white people in West Virginia in 2007? Let’s look at the YouTube video to jog our memory.
In spite of Ms. Williams recanting her story two years after the incident made national news, I want us to ponder the idea of prevention in relation to her case. Could Ms. Williams have prevented this horrendous act from happening to her? What types of questions did the investigators ask her about her whereabouts and the events that led up to the kidnapping? Was guilt and self-blame the cause of such a bizarre decision to recant her allegations in spite of the evidence, not her testimony, that proved the guilty verdicts?
Six years later, Ms. Williams' victimization, trauma, and injury, among so many others, lost its affect on us due to our society being desensitized to victimization. Acts like the ones in Ms. Williams case seem to be a part of our culture. Oftentimes, after the initial shock wears off we return to the regularly scheduled programming, such as Law & Order, SVU, which highlights fictitious cases of sexual victimization, mostly towards women.
In commemoration of SAAM, the conversation continues. Stop by the Commentator's Column next week to converse on rape culture within the context of healthy sexuality.
Wielding, raging, and re-framing,
Dr. Latisha Webb