Warning: This piece contains material about sexual assault that may be upsetting to some readers.
Sexual assault wasn’t a problem on my radar until it happened to me. But two and a half years ago, I was assaulted over the course of two nights, in a foreign country, while involuntarily intoxicated. This led to chronic clinical insomnia, job loss, a suicide attempt, 16 months of severe clinical depression, and a year off from school with short stints of homelessness and alcoholism.
So, since then, I haven’t really had a choice but to think a tremendous amount about sexual assault and its consequences. I can’t, by any means, know what sexual assault is like from a woman’s perspective, but I’ve talked to dozens, if not hundreds, of female survivors/victims (different people prefer different terms, so I’ll use them interchangeably), and I share with them similar emotions and experiences.
After all that, I’ve realized that most of my male friends don’t really have much of a handle on how serious, widespread, and complex sexual assault is. I didn’t, either. So I’m writing this with the aim of helping men, in particular, grasp certain nuances about sexual assault, which will help prevent them, you, anyone from unintentionally behaving in a manner that promotes assault or re-victimizes survivors.