Reasons you should believe rape survivors

In my court hearing against rapist Aaron Lamb this past week, he called his ex-wife to the stand as a witness. Lamb also made reference to another person I had considered a friend, a fellow feminist, and an ally in the fight against rape culture. Third, he referenced a friend who had for a time in 2017 helped me to escape my marriage to a mortally-violent man. It breaks my heart that despite all the awareness spread by movement like #MeToo and #TimesUp that still some people (even people close to a survivor) still stubbornly and with great cruelty choose to side with the rapist instead of the people he has victimized.

I am fortunate in that I have a solid social support system I can turn to. They help remind me that I carry the torch of truth, that I am worthy of being heard, and I have both a right and a need to tell my truth. Sadly, not all rape survivors and victims of domestic violence are so fortunate. Many live in fear and isolation without anyone to reach out to for support.

It is for these survivors struggling in silence that I write – you need to think VERY CAREFULLY about what you are doing and who you are empowering when making the choice to accuse a rape survivor of lying about an assault or ongoing abuse.

  1. You empower the rapist.
  2. You empower ALL rapists.
  3. You make it even MORE difficult and intimidating for other survivors to speak up.
  4. You help to re-traumatize the reporting survivor.
  5. You embolden the rapist to commit his (or her) crime again, more often, and with greater violence.

So please, pause a moment to think again if ever you are tempted to side with an alleged rapist and accuse their victim of lying.

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