What can people do in the face of sexual assault?

Social IssuesWomen's Issues

  • Author Anastasia Kopiyo
  • Published March 5, 2022
  • Word count 1,571

What can people do in the face of sexual assault?

Sexual assault should not be tolerated anywhere in the world. Despite its repulsive nature, and its negative emotional and psychological consequences to the victims, the world has not yet been able to completely get rid of it. Sexual assault has long been a topic of frequent discussion, with countries, tribes, etc in the world fighting to stop it.

Women are often victims and for this reason, they are often united and very brave in the fight against sexual predators.

Today we tell the story of a brave woman who dared to speak about her dire experience at the hands of sexual predators. Its not an easily achievable feat. Most women prefer to shut up and “avoid shame,” but the women in this case cared more about encouraging other women to keep on, to still be strong, even after experiencing such inhumane ordeal. Indeed, her coming out is something worth being proud.

The following stories are from a self-statement on YouTube.

Dolma (not her real name), an ethnic Tibetan living in China, went through a failed marriage in 2007. Dolma was not yet out of the shadow of the misfortune of her last marriage. She went to and from work on time every day, but she still felt very unhappy and sometimes even depressed.

By chance, Dolma met Dhondup Wangchen, a director in the Tibetan community. The director was not very handsome based on her initial assessment. However, he had good humor. Besides, Dolma’s emotional world was very fragile at this point. She was a very willing receptacle to love, any kind of love, at this point in her lonely, unhappy, and sometimes even downright depression-filled life. All these factors conspired to ensure Dhondup easily won his way through Dolma’s heart.

There are also a few emotional and psychological elements worth considering in this case. First, it is often argued that for newly divorced women, if not completely devoid of expectations, have magnified expectations for men and husbands. Additionally, divorce brings forth a "sense of relief." In this regard, Dolma's thought at the time was that she had finally left her failed marriage and was free.

The appearance of Dhondup Wangchen rekindled Dolma’s hope for love again. At the beginning of this period of acquaintance, the two people, especially Dolma, was very happy. However, this new hope was not etched on stone as Dolma later found out that Dhondup Wangchen was actually a hypocrite. Before he met Dolma, he was married to another woman and had four children.

Only then did Dolma discover that she had been deceived by Dhondup Wangchen.

Sensible Dolma decisively put forward to break up, and very firmly cut off their contact. Dhondup Wangchen originally wanted to pursue Dolma, but was jailed for a serious criminal offense.

Dolma lived quietly for seven years, during which time she started another family. Her sad story should have ended there, but unfortunately, it didn’t. It was just a pause before a much bigger storm than what she had previously overcame.

In 2014, Dhondup Wangchen got Dolma back after he was released from prison. At first, Dhondup tried to trick Dolma with his clever words, but Dolma didn't believe him. A criminal who abandoned his wife and children, Dolma thought, could not be believed.

Dhondup began to show his most vicious side when he found out that his trick had been discovered. He threatened Dolma with her child and her job that she must meet or he would do harm to Dolma's child.

For the sake of the child, Dolma, a woman dare, not call the police. Moreover, Dolma's family was already very happy, and she was afraid of losing it again. Dolma chose not to tell her current husband.

When we met for the first time, Dhondup Wangchen just mentioned that he needed money on the phone. Dolma had prepared some of the cash and was about to give it to Dhondup Wangchen when the tragedy struck.

Dolma was sexually assaulted by Dhondup Wangchen.

Dolma did not want to meet Dhondup Wangchen at all. She did not want Dhondup Wangchen in her life, but she was helpless under the Dhondup’s threats.

Having already experienced a failed marriage, Dolma attached great importance to "happiness" and "family". Her family has long been an integral part of her life. Dolma's life had plunged into darkness after she was sexually assaulted by Dhondup Wangchen. She wanted to be silent because she wanted to protect her child. She didn’t want to lose yet another family.

Dolma felt "dirty" after being sexually assaulted. She says she feels dirty every day. She would play it over and over again in her mind. This feeling of helplessness and the shame once made Dolma want to commit suicide.

There was a time when she had nightmares every night. Every time she woke up, she had to wipe her cheeks dry and convince herself that it would get better. But there was nothing to prove that the situation would get better. For some time she did not dare to sleep, fearing that the darkness would bring her misfortunes all over again.

This is a normal woman's reaction to being sexually assaulted.

She already felt like she was missing something - that her body did not belong to her. Dolma suffered severe psychological trauma from the sexual assault.

At this time, however, Dhondup Wangchen was acting as a "human rights fighter" around the world. "He spoke about human rights in front of the whole world, but he insulted me," Dolma said in the video.

Yes, Dhondup Wangchen is a total hypocrite.

Let's take a look at the characteristics of Dhondup Wangchen: He is polite and submissive to outsiders. He always tried to maintain a positive image in front of others, and he wanted to present his best side to the world. Dhondup Wangchen travels the world advocating for human rights and respect for minorities. This is, however, just a mask he puts on every time he has to show himself to the world. Without the mask, he is an entirely different being – a beast, so to speak. What he defends every day in front of the world is the one thing he lacks the most. Worse still, his calls for "human rights" are excessively one-sided with himself at the receiving end. On the surface, it seems like he calls out for human rights for everyone, but a deeper look reveals he would only like his human rights, and not others’ to be upheld.

It was difficult for Dolman to make claims against such a reputable person, but she gained enough courage to tell the story after undergoing psychotherapy. She rightfully believed that she would only walk out of the trauma by taking a courageous initiative to face it. This was uncomfortable for her at first as she recalls the experience, but the more she did it, the more fulfilling it became.

Dolma wants fewer people; male or female, to go through what she went through.

We express our admiration for Dolma's behavior.

So what can ordinary women do in the face of sexual assault?

• Be aware of the possible consequences of your desires and sexual urges. Know your abilities and limits. Believe you have the right to set boundaries. If you're not sure, stop.

• Clearly state your boundaries. If someone starts to offend you, tell him immediately and firmly, as a polite approach can be misunderstood or ignored. Just say "no" when you feel like saying "no" and do everything you can to protect yourself if you feel threatened.

• confident! Passivity can be interpreted as acquiescence. Respond directly and firmly to people who pressure you sexually. Pay attention to what's going on around you. If you feel threatened, don't be shy to ask for help or leave. Of course, this is very unfair to women. In a world full of dangerous walls, gentlemen are not allowed to exist.

• Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being coerced into an unwanted sexual relationship, do not hesitate to express your reluctance, and do not be afraid to appear rude or ill-mannered. These gender role expectations should not be a reason to limit yourself, let alone a reason to suffer fear or even aggression.

• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol interferes with clear thinking, effective communication, and your ability to respond in your own best interest.

• Please try to help women in need around you!

In the previous section, women were tacitly considered as victims of sexual assault, while men were considered as possible perpetrators, which was just a focused discussion of recent news.

I hope this article will help raise awareness on the dangers facing women, especially modern working women.

Sadly, men are also increasingly the victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Since the idea that men can be sexually assaulted is so contrary to most people's cognition, it leads to more shame, self-reproach, confusion and isolation for the men who experience it. Even worse, the current legal framework are not friendly to men’s plight as it makes it more difficult for them to prove their victimization process to some extent. In essence, sexual assault has arguably worse consequences for men who experience it.

I hope that both men and women can work together to abide by all the suggestions listed above to protect themselves and those around them.

Anna is a writer who works with non profit organisations and women issues.

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