Standing in solidarity with victims of abuse

Megan Behnke, Staff Writer

Sexual abuse has always been a sensitive topic. Once considered a taboo subject, the last 10 years have seen a drastic increase in the number of victims who have chosen to speak out about their experiences.

These accounts are often shared in the hopes of raising awareness about the prevalence of sexual crimes. The shift in our cultural approach toward confronting abuse has also given rise to a series of movements among politicians and other public figures, epitomized in campaigns like #MeToo and #TIMESUP.

Actors, writers, producers, directors, and other individuals are uniting to expose sexual perpetrators, and to share their own stories. This wave of broken silence has been both confrontational and compassionate. Through these high-profile accounts, many thousands of victims who have remained silent may gain a measure of solace in the knowledge that they don’t stand alone.

The societal response to these disclosures has been one of overwhelming readiness and empowerment. The 2017 Time Magazine Person of the Year award expanded its definition to include all Silence Breakers, specifically highlighting women tied to the #MeToo Movement.

At the 2018 Golden Globes, attendees wore black to show solidarity with sexual abuse victims. At the Grammy Awards, artists wore white roses in honor of the #TIMESUP Movement, and #TIMESUP pins made a number of appearances. More TV shows and movies have been addressing the topic, tiptoeing (with varied levels of success) the delicate line between necessary conversations and gratuitous overexposure.

In this, one can glimpse the first stumbling steps of a culture learning how to educate all age ranges on the best and the worst of human nature.

I love this.

Celebrities who have weighed in on the subject are using their platforms to bring awareness to a subculture that effects all of us, from all walks of life. These individuals and their stories have, in turn, had a domino effect: every day, more people have come forward to speak about their own experience.

And now, a message for readers: please know that if you are being sexually abused, you are never alone. You have people to talk to. Don’t be scared to speak out, even if it’s only to one other person. You will be heard. Our culture grows increasingly ready to listen to the story you have to tell.

For readers who have not experienced abuse, but wish to help: stand in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse. Stand in solidarity with the silence breakers.