Standing With Survivors

If there is a consistent variable in the majority of sexual violence cases, its the “he said, she said,” factor. The undeniably wrong, yet driving factor in these cases. 

For many of us, we first heard that term in our early stages of life. Something happened, and our teachers or parents would tell us that they can’t do anything because it’s a “he said, she said,” scenario. 

For those of you that have managed to have yet to hear the term, let me break it down. It’s actually pretty simple, it means that there are two conflicting reports of something that happened, usually in the incident involving a woman and a man. 

To no surprise, this term has circulated sexual violence cases for years, destroying lives and dismissing cases. 

I understand that there are many factors when it comes to finding a verdict on a case, but for some reason, we dismiss just about every sexual violence case under the resoning of “there is no evidence, it is ‘he said, she said.’” What kind of logic is that?

Police and investigators will work tirelessly to find who assaulted another person, but when it’s a sexual assault, the assailant can be sitting right in front of an officer, sheriff or even a judge, and they will still say “there isn't enough evidence.” Whether you put “sexual,” in front of the word or not, it’s still assault, treat it as such.

I am sick and tired of watching cases get thrown away because there is no evidence. Is it not enough evidence that I am screaming crying in the courtroom telling you about how the man sitting at the other end of the room assaulted, raped and violated me? No, it’s not. Because as long as his story doesn’t match up with mine, then it becomes a “he said, she said,” situation, and suddenly, the case is dismissed. 

People already don’t believe survivors. Their words get twisted, their actions are misconstrued and alternate stories are made up in place of the truth. 

For every 1,000 sexual assault cases, only 310 will get reported, and 50 of those will lead to an arrest, according to RAINN. To make things worse, 975 of the assailants will walk free. 

The worst of it, though, is that the number I just gave to you doesn’t come as a shock. “He said, she said,” has become too prevalent in the reality of sexual violence, making more and more cases end in dismissals. 

How about for once, we take a minute to think about the lives at stake when we put “he said,” in front of “she said.” We need to start listening to women, and when they open up about something that happened to them, it should be taken just as seriously as any other case. 

Using an excuse, saying that the stories don’t match up, isn’t enough to let a case fall through the cracks of a broken justice system. Nowadays, it is more socially known that you should get an order of protection rather than fight a case to get the assailant arrested or charged. Unfortunately, you have an extremely better chance at receiving the former than you have at winning the latter. 

It's our justice system and our social norms to accepting rape culture. We live in a “he said, she said,” world, and it is nothing shy of inhumane.

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