The Power of "Sharing is Caring"

by SVL on March 21, 2017 - 3:35pm

It is not rare to hear, see or read about a rape case on the news. Today, more and more victims of sexual assault take actions against their assaulter by speaking up about their traumatic experience in hope that society will be more aware of what’s happening on the streets, parties, college campuses, etc. Although did you ever wonder about what happens after? What happens to the victim after he or she informs the authorities? What happens when the victim awaits the verdict of the judge? What happens when the whole case ends?

Crystal Stroup, a rape survivor, opens up to the New York Times on how she does not know “how to pick up the pieces and start over again.” She still had to see her penetrator on campus which left her unable to concentrate on her studies. Thus, she took the decision to drop out of school as the thought of seeing him made her feel unsafe. In another case, during an episode of 60 Minutes, CBS News talked about the aftermath of the Beckett Brennan case. Beckett Brennan, a former student at the University of the Pacific, got raped by three basketball players. After testifying against them and winning her case, she took summer classes in hope to have her old life back. However, she did not expect to be ostracized by her fellow classmates for being the reason why the athletic director “banned the men’s and women’s team from socializing”. In the end, she had to leave her school for good while her penetrator “was given a full scholarship to the University of Idaho” after being expelled from his former school.

In both cases, we can see the people accused of rape were able to move on with their lives, forgetting the impact of their action - or even the action itself. On the other hand, Crystal Stroup and Beckett Brennan had to drop out of their program because of their isolation from their peers and their fear of seeing their rapist as if their psychological and emotional aftereffects such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and changes in their eating or sleeping pattern were not enough. On http://jessicawluther.com/thelist/, you can find other rape cases and their outcome.

With the technology we have in our hands, I believe that creating an app where rape survivors can share their stories (anonymously or not) and how they overcome it. This “New Power”, “the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination to create change and shift outcomes”, can help other victims into not feeling ashamed of themselves or be able to move on quicker. The quote, “sharing is caring”, cannot be further from the truth. As long as people will keep sharing their personal experiences with sexual assaults, the more it will raise awareness to rape cases and more actions will be taken to help the victims adjust to their daily lives. The goal of the app is for people to connect with other victims, thus building a support system for the ones who needs it during these difficult times because no one understands a rape survivor's feelings than another rape survivor. I hope that the app can help others from feeling alone and that the advice provided by members who were able to move on from this traumatic event can give hope to others that life does get better with time.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

 

Work Cited

Heimans, Jeremy. “Jeremy Heimans: What New Power Looks Like.” Ted, June 2014, https://www.ted.com/talks/jeremy_heimans_what_new_power_looks_like#t-56131. Accessed 19 March 2017.

Saul, Stephanie. “When Campus Rapists Are Repeat Offenders.” New York Times, January 2017,

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/us/when-campus-rapists-are-repeat-offenders.html. Accessed 19 March 2017.

Courir, Katie. “The Case of Beckett Brennan.” CBS News, May 2011, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-case-of-beckett-brennan/3/. Accessed 19 March 2017.

 

Comments

I really enjoyed your “sharing is caring” approach, referring to the fact that rape victims should share their stories in order to move forward. I agree that these victims are in dire need of support, and this is a way of giving them this, while at the same time raising awareness about rape and how frequently it occurs. However, as much as I agree that supporting victims is important, I do not believe that this is the best solution to solve the issue of rape. For one, looking at it from a more gendered lens, women are more likely to be victims of rape than men, and this is because we live in a rape culture. Therefore, women are often objectified, and sexual assault towards them is trivialized by many. As well, it is considered normal for men to treat women as sexual objects, and they are frequently praised for doing so. In my opinion, this is unacceptable. So, instead of focusing all our attention on victims after the fact, it would also be necessary to devote time to preventing the horrendous event from occurring in the first place. Back to your idea of “sharing is caring”, I think that women can sensitize people to the idea of rape by sharing their story. However, it is vital that we also teach people that sexually objectifying and assaulting women is not something that should be taken as lightly as it often is.

I invite you to read this article which goes more in depth in explaining rape culture:
http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

About the author

SVL

A Champlain College student slash brunch enthusiast who is currently studying in the General Social Sciences program.