Qs to Help You Unpack Your Assumptions About Rape and Abuse

What unconscious beliefs do you hold about domestic abuse and sexual violence? What do you think motivates victims speak up about their experiences? Are there victims you are more likely to believe than others?

What type of person do you think is likely to abuse their spouse and/or children? What racial or class assumptions do you bring to your understanding of abuse? Do you think certain types of people are more likely to get away with perpetrating abuse?

Have you ever felt taken advantage of? Have you ever been harmed? Have you ever perpetrated harm, consciously or by accident? Have you ever exploited a power imbalance? How do you experience power or powerlessness in your daily life?

Are there survivors in your life? Has anyone ever confided an uncomfortable experience in you? How did you react? Is there anything you wish you had done differently? How can you better support the victims in your life, whether you are aware of their experiences or not?

What myths have you absorbed about false accusations? Do you think false accusations are more dangerous than the crimes people are accused of? Has anyone in your life been accused of harm? Did you react to this allegation defensively or with an open mind?

How has the media — from TV to tabloids to social media — shaped your understanding of abuse and rape? What stories have you seen in entertainment about domestic violence? What did those stories prime you to believe about abuse?

What news sources do you trust? Where are you getting your information? Are you actively seeking out news or passively absorbing it via algorithms? Who do you follow on YouTube and social media who informs your views? How do you decide who is an “expert”?

How do you feel when you read about domestic abuse or sexual violence within celebrity relationships? Confused? Angry? Irritated? Concerned? Amused? Excited? Where do those feelings come from? How do you feel when you read about abuse between non-celebrities?

Have you ever posted on social media in a way that could hurt victims of abuse or sexual violence? Have you ever shared memes about abuse or sexual violence? In what ways have you been complicit, intentionally or accidentally, in the silencing of a victim?

What action can you take to support victims in your community? Can you donate to an aid fund that supports survivors of abuse? Do you vote for candidates who support gender equity? If you’re a parent, are you talking about abuse with your children?

Do your friends and family members share your values when it comes to abuse and sexual violence? What conversations do you have on a regular basis about abuse? If someone you love made a disparaging remark about a victim, what would you say?

Is there anyone to whom you owe an apology? Would they feel comfortable hearing from you, or are there other ways you can make amends? How do you challenge yourself to grow and become a kinder, more open-minded person?

If you would like to learn more about intimate partner violence, here are books I recommend reading next. 

This post was made possible by the support of my Patreon community. Please consider subscribing here.

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash.

Posted by

Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s