I am a survivor of rape. Two rapes and several sexual assaults. Unfortunately, I am not unique in having had that experience, except that I am one of few who would publicly acknowledge it; I am not ashamed. I share my stories for the benefit of educating others. Trust me, it took a very long time for me to make the paradigm shift from being a victim.
One of the significant turning points in that shift for me was this video, which I watched two or three times soon after it was published in 2012. Please watch and read the rest of my essay, below, after the video.
I cried in relief while watching this video and felt empowered in short order.
Ever since my first viewing of this, I have been acutely aware of women who say in the passive voice, “I was raped.” It isn’t the woman’s intention to assume guilt and shame. Rather, our use of the English language has facilitated our rape culture and has made it difficult for other survivors of rape to say, “He raped me,” rather than “I was raped.” Say it aloud and feel the difference. Using the passive voice in this situation feels guilty and shameful, perpetuating victimhood. The active voice rightfully accuses the perpetrator so feels empowering to the survivor.
Recently, I had the bittersweet satisfaction of sharing Katz’s observation with a woman who is a survivor but was still using victim language. She indicated the awareness was profound and thanked me for sharing this catalyst in her healing. That’s when I realized I had to share this with you, the readers of GMP. Please share it with others you know would do well to hear and read this message of empowerment. Thank you.
Photo and video credit: Ted.com