Last night, there was a march for solidarity in response to the rape attempt reported on January 8. Participants marched to 24th St. BART at 5:30pm and stopped to let volunteers speak and share their thoughts.
While some of the speakers talked about ways for potential victims to stay safe, such taking self defense classes, carrying mace, and not walking home alone, I was moved by some of the more idealogical issues about the surrounding community that were discussed. Some of my takeaways of that kind were:
- If someone says she was sexually assaulted, believe her.
- Don’t ignore cries for help.
- Get to know everyone in your neighborhood.
- Don’t blame the victim.
- Don’t joke about rape.
The reason these things hit home for me is because I, like many of you, read comments on this blog. I know that a few commenters fall under these categories when we post about these incidents.
If your first reaction to sensational reports that don’t show up on the news first is to think that they are a hoax, then please consider that some rapes go unreported because victims are afraid they won’t be taken seriously and that they will be shamed in their communities. In fact, I just heard about someone who still thought that the recently-convicted Mission rapist of last year was an “internet hoax”!
No, we aren’t seasoned reporters, but we are members of this community and if we don’t take it seriously, how do we expect anyone else to? It starts here, folks.
We live in a crazy neighborhood where wild stuff happens all the time. We can get numb to it. But we should never turn a blind eye to people in danger. There are so many different people living in the Mission who are invisible to one another. Stopping and getting to know your neighbors can go a long way in knowing when something isn’t right.
Stay safe everybody, but also keep others safe.
[Top photo via Adrian Arias]