“But, I was wearing a short skirt.”
“I didn’t move after he touched me.”
“I should have yelled, but I didn’t.”
Common statements we hear from victims of sexual assault, including those individuals experienced gender based public sexual harassment. This notion of being the “perfect victim” is interwoven through our day to day dialogue of sexual assault to the legal system and, of course, pop culture. Now, this post is not going to analyze the “perfect victim” but rather challenge us in thinking why we need to continue to perpetuate this belief.
Over here at HBDC!, we don’t want you to feel like you have to fall in the “perfect victim” category. We don’t want you to feel that you should have been wearing pants instead of shorts or reported the employee or called the police. We have not been able to incorporate some of the tactics that readers are doing for safety or personal reasons. We would not expect that out of you or anyone. We strongly believe that sending us your story will liberate you, giving you more power to handle the perfect victim.
The other night, at Tryst, we were chatting with a fellow anti-street harassment activist. She told us, and we agreed in unison, that the power of storytelling in the gender based anti-violence movement is under utilized. We, as women and men who survive the daily walks with the barrage of attacks, should must continue to share these stories. Through our collective voice, the perfect victim will be destroyed, carrying away the burden of grief and guilt.