My name is Kara and I will be another personality on this blog for the summer. My posts will consist of personal beliefs (and CCASA’s philosophy), my thoughts on emotionally straining situations, and of course a current look into sexual violence of modern society. So here we go!
Since learning of CCASA many years ago, I have always been aware of its goals and presence in Calgary. However, I had never taken the time to truly evaluate the philosophy and message that this sincere organization embraced. I had always held onto the belief that sexual assault was something that happened to certain people. These “certain people” were the ones who never took precautions when going out. This was why I had a small list of “prevention” rules that I followed:
- Never leave my drink alone… EVER!
- Always have my keys between my fingers when walking in a parking lot
- Never walk alone at night. Travel in packs.
- Enroll in some kind of self-defense
All of these prevention tactics were rules which became rituals in my everyday life. I thought, “As long as I follow these rules sexual assault can never happen to me!” This was life; be prepared or face the consequences… is this not what we are told from birth? My perspective of the whole subject changed the day I started at CCASA. To begin with, CCASA asked me, “Would you ever ask to be sexually assaulted?” My answer: “Of course not! No one on this planet would want to be assaulted in any way.” As soon as I understood that sexual assault is NEVER wanted, I had to understand that it was not my responsibility to prevent it. The offender is the individual who makes their own choices, and their choice is to act on a crime. A crime that is not only physical but mental as well.
Saying this, I still thought that I should keep all of my prevention tactics. Eventually CCASA made me realize that I shouldn’t have to worry about all of these things. It shouldn’t matter what I wear, what I look like, what I say or how much I drank. I am never asking to be assaulted. It is someone else choosing to assault. I finally understood that no matter how many prevention tools I had it would not stop someone from assaulting.
So do I keep living my life in “precaution” mode and maintain my “prevention” skills, or do I stop living my life and hide in a hole (oh and never drink again!)? Neither! Why should I have to worry about leaving my drink or walking in public areas? I should be able to live my life without fear and never have to worry about, “Well you left your drink alone, what did you expect?”
This is why CCASA’s key philosophies are now my philosophies:
- You never ask to be sexually assaulted!
- You are never to blame! The person who assaults is 100% responsible
- It can happen to ANYONE!
Till next time