You’re a sophomore in college. You know everyone and everyone knows you. Right after your final exams are over there’s a big party at a frat house on campus. You go because everyone expects you to be there, and to be honest, you need to do something to celebrate completing another year of college. You and your friends head to the party. Knowing that you most likely won’t be able to drive home, you plan to stay at the house with one of your life long friends that you completely trust. So when your friends realize that you’ve had a bit too much to drink, they put you to bed upstairs. When you wake up, you find that someone is on top of you, taking advantage of you as you sleep. What do you do?
This is what happened to Allison Huguet (Missoula). She was just an average girl who went to a party in her hometown. She was told that it was her fault that she was raped. That she was “asking for it”. Women suffer from psychological damages from being sexually assaulted and raped. Women can suffer even more because they don’t talk about it. Because as a society we have made it seem like talking about it is a bad thing. Around 20% of college age women who have been sexually assaulted do not come forward about it for fear of reprisal. That means that only two out of every ten women would have reported their sexual assault. This is just one of the many examples of why we, as a society, need to stop shaming our women when they are really the ones who did nothing wrong.
The effect of sexual assault on women can be years, or even a lifetime, of difficulty in lots of things. Some of those things include trust, mental illness, substance abuse, and more. After sexual being sexually abused women can have trust issues. After something so traumatic happens it can be hard to open up to anyone for anything. Many women can experience new or worsening depression from being sexually assaulted. Around 30% of victims suffer from major depression. Many survivors of sexual assault can struggle with substance abuse also. Lots of people abuse substances after something traumatic has happened to help them “numb the pain” or because they are lacking a support system. Altogether, we can all try and help victims of sexual assault by just being there for them. Making sure not to pressure them or make them uncomfortable or making them talk about something that they are not ready to talk about. Overall, they just need support. Sometimes just being there can make a whole world of difference. The effects of sexual assault can be very dangerous, so it is important to look out for the warning signs in the survivors. We need to have better support systems for women. In Missoula, people talk down about the rape victims saying that they are exaggerating or lying in the time when we really need to be there for the survivors the most.