Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
Today, I want to just have more of an opinion blog today. If you haven’t been up to date with the news lately, you may not have heard of the Sarah Everard case that has been really stirring up a demand for social change and ending sexual harassment and assaults. The reason Sarah’s death has been getting so much attention is because a policeman took her life, even after she did “Everything Right”. As far I know, her cause of death hasn’t been released yet and it seems unsure if she was sexually assaulted, however, all signs point to a strong possibility that she was. Sarah was doing all the things right, which is yet another reason this is so heartbreaking. She was in bright clothes so that she could easily be seen, she was walking home at 9PM (not late) and was speaking to her boyfriend her entire walk home. Sarah was only 33. Sarah was described by her family in an E Article as “bright, beautiful, and a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable. She always put others first and had the most amazing sense of humor”.
I think something that makes this case so hard is the fact that she did everything she was supposed to in order to “stay safe”. It is honestly even disappointing that women are expected to be prepared in case of an attack, but she was. And not only was she prepared, but she was murdered by a man in uniform-someone that I would trust if I was approached.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a huge True Crime Junkie. I love to learn about psychology and enjoy trying to solve mysteries. Although I enjoy True Crime content, my heart always aches for the victims and victim’s families. After learning about Sarah’s case, I began to think more about true crime and victims. Based on all the podcasts, shows, and YouTube videos I watch and/or listen to, in my own opinion, I would say 95% of the cases are based on women victims who were sexually assaulted and murdered. ALL THE TIME we see missing women or young girls on the news. And of course, men are sexually assaulted and murdered too and their voices deserve to be heard. But, considering the fact that 97% of women have experienced sexual harassment, it seems fitting to speak on the abuse and harassment women go through on a day to day basis.
If the fact that 97% of women will experience sexual harassment doesn’t make your stomach churn, then I don’t know what will. To put that a little bit more into perspective, that is your sister, mom, daughter, best friend, girlfriend, or wife.
Just really think about that for a second. And that is just the women who have experienced it one time. I would bet my life that most of these women have experienced sexual harassment more than once. And just to clear up what sexual harassment is, check the list below:
Sexual Harassment includes: Unwelcome sexual advances, physical sexual assault, requesting sexual favors, verbal harassment of a sexual nature, unwanted physical contact, feeling pressured to engage in sexual acts, exposing oneself and/or touching oneself in front of others, and unwanted explicit photos.
That list was from RAINN. I am sure there are other forms in between the ones listed but this is just a general overview. I know for a fact that all of my female friends have dealt with this harassment in one way or another. I KNOW that women like myself get catcalled on a DAILY basis.
It is so disheartening that whatever I do, I am always keeping my eye out because I literally have to. I have pepper spray anytime I go for a walk by myself. I bring my ID in my pocket so in case something happens I can drop my ID as evidence. I try to wear bright clothes so that I am seen easily. I try not to go down desolate roads because I know there is a higher chance of someone getting away with kidnapping me. When I get in my car, I immediately check the back seat and lock my doors. I try not to take the same path when I go on my walks so that no one will learn my routine and follow me. I don’t go tons of places alone late at night because I know the risk is greater. I don’t even usually get gas by myself unless it is totally necessary. I love working out but the gym seems to be a breeding ground for strange people that I try to avoid so I can just get my workout in. I don’t like public transportation because I simply don’t trust the men there and I have heard one too many stories of sexual assault occurring on public transportation. And just reading this paragraph is heartbreaking because so many women experience having to live like this on the daily.
I also wanted to write this blog post because sexual assault can cause major PTSD in survivors. Let’s take a look at some stats about mental health and sexual assault.
- 72.8% of college sexual assault survivors reported mental health issues after the assault.
- 11% of rape victims experience severe PTSD for years after the rape.
- Rape victims are 13% more likely to attempt suicide than those who haven’t experienced rape.
- 96% of rape survivors experience PTSD in the weeks following the assault.
- Sexual Assault survivors are three times more likely to develop depression than those who haven’t experienced sexual assault.
- Sexual Assault survivors are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
These stats are according to (CMSAC, MHA NATIONAL, MUSC EDU, NCBI GOV)
As you can see, sexual assault has a horrific impact on mental health. The whole point of this blog post is to raise awareness and make change. Parents, teach your SONS to be good people and treat women correctly. As women, we are sick and tired of having to live like this and change our ways and what we want to do to protect ourselves. It is time we are all having conversations at home about harassment and what consent is and what doesn’t constitute consent. We as women have seen enough rape and murder and it is time for a change. Rape has been classified as a global epidemic and it really is time that things change. It is NOT okay that 97% of women have faced harassment.
So what are some other things we can do to help this epidemic? Here are some resources to learn more as well as some petitions to sign. It is time we take action.
Sexual Assault and Harassment Resources:
Rape, Abuse, and Incest: https://www.rainn.org/resources
Lean In: https://leanin.org/sexual-harassment
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/
CDC: Sexual Violence : https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/resources.html
Minnesota Rape/Consent Loophole: https://www.change.org/p/minnesota-state-house-change-minnesota-sexual-assault-laws?pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAF%2FLqwEAAAAAYGHzC7E%2FLh1kM2JiZWNmNg%3D%3D&source_location=topic_page
Justice for Lee:
Southern Indiana, Hold Rapists Accountable:
Mineola Middle School Teacher Sexual Assault:
Justice for Sexual Trauma in the Military:
You can find many other petitions on Change.org regarding sexual assault.
Learn about Sarah Everard’s Case:
Rest in Peace beautiful Sarah Everard
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.