A little background: I was assaulted my freshman year of college. I went to my school's counselors, who were actually the ones who defined sexual assault for me and told me that yes, I was sexually assaulted. They also refused to help me call the police (I told them that if they could physially call the police for me that I would give a statement, but if I called myself I knew that I would completely lose it), and then told me that I was going to the hospital for a check up, but actually sent me to a psychiatric hospital and tried to have me checked in against my will. It's a horrifying story, but I console myself by dreaming of the six figure book deal it's going to get me (I joke... unless you have connections in the publishing world).
When I so much as saw the image posted alongside the story, I totally flipped. Then I read the story, and began to understand the rationale the artists, the article's author, and some commenters had for this "feminist street art," and I completely lost my shit.
I cannot fathom how a person can see this and not think that it trivializes sexual assault. Actually, I can: They have never been affected by the consequences of rape. I have, and that's why I'm so adamant about my stance on this misguided attempt at awareness. I absolutely loathe seeing anything posing as "sexual assault awareness." It's almost always wrong. I cannot watch procedural crime shows, because they always depict a rape victim going to the police, the police sending out some super sleuthing crime unit, the woman's attacker being caught, and the victim thanking the heroes for freeing her of all her troubles. In my experience, you tell some official type that you were attacked and they accuse you of being a liar. Oh, and send you to the crazy house. Then you go through years of therapy and still have flashbacks when you see graffiti like this, or when shows like Law and Order: SVU hit the air. I have a theory about this, and this is the part that I struggle to express coherently, but I tried to do so on the Jezebel comments. Here's what I wrote: