November 13, 2014
Writing for Vice media, Anne Thériault discusses what it will take to start fixing a culture of sexual assault. The most recent impetus for the conversation came from the firing of Canadian radio personality, Jian Ghomeshi, after he was implicated in a string of sexual assaults. After the usual spate of blaming victims and questioning their integrity, the incident thankfully transitioned towards asking why so many victims don’t report sexual assault to authorities. The most obvious answer is also perhaps the most troubling:
“…the cost-benefit analysis of reporting sexual assault tips heavily towards the cost side of the equation. There are many costs to reporting sexual assault—it can cost a woman her job, her friends, her privacy. The benefits, unfortunately, are slim to non-existent.”
As such, Thériault suggests that the first step in changing rape culture is to make it safe for women to disclose the violence that is forced upon them.
“It’s not just the justice system that has to ameliorate how they treat sexual assault survivors; everyone needs to examine and shift their beliefs surrounding rape and sexual assault.”
“…a few posters and a neat hashtag won’t change the fact that, as in the case of Jian Ghomeshi, our society’s knee-jerk reaction is always to blame or disbelieve the victim.”