On Tuesday I'm interviewing Jaclyn Friedman, editor of Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape. The interview will be part of a 30 minute radio documentary I'm producing for 88.5 WMNF's annual observance of International Women's Day on March 8th. (If you didn't know that most of the world celebrates women on this day, you should, and now you do!)
My doc is tentatively titled I Am Someone, and it addresses the global pandemic of violence against women, woven together with stories from survivors (myself included).
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 6 American women and 1 in 33 American men have been raped or sexually assaulted.
The recent assault on journalist Lara Logan in Egypt has caused many other female journalists to "come out" about their own attacks on the job, kept secret because they didn't want to seem weaker than their male counterparts and denied work opportunities. And I can't think of the last time a high profile male admitted his abuse before Senator Scott Brown revealed his childhood trauma Sunday night on 60 Minutes.
As terrible as these stories are to hear, it's better than the "good old days" when people refused to talk about such disturbing things. Though out of sight, out of mind, the abuse existed.
These crimes are seldom talked about openly because the victims are often shamed into silence. Each victim reacts differently, but there are definite patterns caused by the trauma. If victims stay silent, they don't get the chance to become survivors. And the people who hurt them have the opportunity to harm someone else.