A new group has arrived on the fashion scene, one that is spreading the message that love, compassion, and community can help the survivors of sexual assault recover.
The new clothing line, called Bravely, was designed by female survivors of sexual assault. The line features a wide range of products including t-shirts, totes, and even water bottles, each with a message written on it, such as “Love Is Brave”. The profit from the sales go to Magdalene St. Louis, a residential community for women survivors.
Through this program, participants can receive up to two years of housing, emotional support, and education. According to their website, most of them women who join were first sexually abused between the ages of 7 and 11.
Bravely employees are typically members of the program who are looking to develop the skills they need to continue after the program ends. The group is trained in marketing, order fulfilment, graphic design, sales, and more.
Prevalence Of Child Sexual Abuse
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20% of all adult females report that they remember a sexual assault from their childhood, which means that 1 in 5 girls is a victim. It’s not just girls that become victims – 1 in 20 boys are also the victims of child sexual abuse. Abuse isn’t limited to just vaginal, oral, or anal sex, it also includes:
- an adult exposing themselves to a minor
- masturbation in the presence of a minor
- forcing a child to participate in pornography
- sex trafficking
In many cases, the child doesn’t report the abuse. This occurs for many reasons:
- They don’t understand that what happened to them was something an adult shouldn’t be doing, even though they know it didn’t make them feel good.
- Their abuser is someone they know and they don’t want to tell. It’s been shown that around 90% of all victims know their abuser.
- The adult has threatened to hurt them or their family.
What Are The Signs?
Signs of child abuse can be:
- frequent urinary or yeast infections
- bruising or bleeding in the genitals
- pain when walking or sitting
- suddenly developing a new phobia
- bed wetting
- difficulty in school
A Culture Of Silence
Sadly, the majority of all sexual assault cases, both child and adult, go unreported. Many survivors report that there is one major reason for this: fear. Fear of how they will be perceived, fear of victim blaming, and fear that somehow, their abuser will able to follow through with the threats that they have made.
At Abuse Guardian, our team works hard every day to make sure that survivors understand that help is something that is not only available but what they deserve. In the last several decades, numerous groups have been created in an effort to change this culture of silence and to give victims the resources they need to get out of abusive situations. But there is still a lot of work to be done.
What Is Victim Blaming?
Victim blaming is when the person who the victim is speaking to asks questions or say things which imply that the victim could have done more to protect themselves and could have, in some way, stopped their abuse. Victims, like the one in the highly reported Stanford rape case, report being asked questions such as:
- How much were you drinking?
- Why did you drink alcohol at all?
- Do you normally drink that much?
- How often do you “party”?
- Have many sexual partners have you had?
- Do you have a history of cheating on your significant other?
- What were you wearing?
- Did you scream?
- Did you actually tell them no?
- Why were you out late at night?
- Did you flirt with them?
- Did you lead them on and let them think it was ok to touch you?
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what a person is wearing, how much they have had to drink or eat, what time of day it was, or who they were with before, during, or after the attack – sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.