Being a woman is the unique experience of having your femininity come before your individuality. As a whole, we have been “comfortable” with the idea of sexual assault for a long time.
Only very recently have we seen powerful Hollywood men be exposed for their disgusting habits. But it isn’t just in Hollywood– it’s in the grocery store, office, movie theater and school. Although it may sound like paranoid feminist talk (though I do check both those boxes), sexual assault is everywhere.
Our very own president– whether you hate him or love him– has allegedly sexually assaulted 16 different women. We all, no matter your political standing, have heard the “grab her by the p***y” tape. However, Donald Trump breaking the law (because yes, sexual assault is an actual crime) was normalized and he was later elected. This wasn’t deemed a “real” issue, even though 16 women voiced otherwise. But hey, what does a woman have to say over a presidential candidate? They were probably lying! You know how women are.
This brand of burying valid allegations is universal across all communities and professions. While Hollywood has recently appeared to be a hotspot of accusations, sexual assault is everywhere women are. (Which, because it is 2017, is everywhere). The military, offices, STEM labs, even the Capitol contain stories of men whistling at women, giving them derogatory nicknames, or grabbing their butt. Women face sexual assault in every corner of the earth, and it is vital for us to realize that to take preventative action.
It gets even worse among marginalized groups. Sixty-four percent of transgender people have experienced sexual assault. Disabled people are two times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault than their abled counterparts. Forty-six percent of bisexual women will be raped in their lifetime.
Last summer, Amber Heard filed for divorce against movie star Johnny Depp for domestic abuse, armed with the tapes and photos to prove it. Yet the media slandered her name, calling her “attention-seeking” and only out for the seven million divorce settlement (which she later donated to charity).
Comedian Doug Stanhope said to the Wrap, “Like many of Johnny Depp’s friends, I’m discovering that Amber is a better actress than I thought.”
Heard had already supplied photos of her bruised face and smashed wine bottles to court.
Io Tillett Wright, a friend of Heard’s, wrote in Refinery29, “The reports of violence started with a kick on a private plane, then it was shoves and the occasional punch until finally, in December, she described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood. I know this because I went to their house. I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor.”
Depp denied all of it and later secured a role in the next “Fantastic Beasts” movie, his career and integrity intact.
Yes, men will experience sexual assault and that is an issue we need to solve as well. But if you are reading this and your first thought it “What about men?”, you need to realize that women face this problem whenever they go outside. It never stops. Everyone knows a girl who got sexually assaulted, if not two, or three, or four. In this era of seemingly untouchable men becoming exposed for sexual assault, we need to believe a woman who says a man has hurt her, not just after another male has confirmed it.