These Quotes Will Change The Way You View Sexual Assault

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Lenhardt/Released)

There's no denying it: We're currently facing new movement against sexual assault, outing those in positions of power who've benefitted for decades from the harassment, assault, and rape of their subordinates and built careers off of it. 

After several allegations against Harvey Weinstein busted open the spiral of silence surrounding Hollywood, the list of figureheads accused of sexual misconduct continues to grow. Kevin Spacey. Bill O'Reilly. Dustin Hoffman. Michael Oreskes. 

Beyond The Interview has compiled an ever-growing list of quotations/excerpts to provide a megaphone to the quiet, and it is hoped, to infuse you with different perspectives. 

“I can explain myself: If you want to be safe, walk in the middle of the street. I’m not joking. You’ve been told to look both ways before crossing the street, and the sidewalk is your friend, right? Wrong. I’ve spent years walking sidewalks at night. I’ve looked around me when it was dark, when there were men following me, creeping out of alleyways, attempting to goad me into speaking to them and shouting obscenities at me when I wouldn’t, and I suddenly realized that the only place left to go was the middle of street. But why would I risk it? Because the odds are in my favor. In the States, someone is killed in a car accident on average every 12.5 minutes, while someone is raped on average every 2.5 minutes. Even when factoring in that, one, I am generously including ALL car-related accidents and not just those involving accidents, and two, that the vast majorities of rapes still go unreported. And, thus, this is now the way I live my life: out in the open, in the middle of everything, because the middle of the street is actually the safest place to walk.” 

― Emilie AutumnThe Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.” 

― Judith Lewis HermanTrauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

"He walked out ... with his belly sticking out, no pants on, shrimp cocktail in one hand and he was furiously masturbating in the other. And before I literally could even figure out where to escape or where to look, he ejaculated."

Actress Olivia Munn on director Brett Ratner

I had always been a strong, intelligent, self-assured, and empowered feminist with a good head on her shoulders—someone who was confident and loved herself and knew what she deserved. Yet I kissed my own rapist. Multiple times. I kissed my rapist as a means to comfort him so that he'd think, "Don't worry, it's okay." Or maybe so I'd think, "Don't worry, I'm okay?" I don't know. All I know is that it was the most pathetic thing I have ever done in my life, and my identity and self-esteem has suffered immensely because of that seemingly small action.

Alina Vergara, "What Rape Is Really Like—Unfiltered"

“It is not enough to say that sexual assault is terrible. It is not enough to know that it is worse than other crimes. We need to be able to say why. The Bible describes sexual intercourse as “knowing” someone. Your core identity is bound up with your sexuality. When you rob someone’s house you take their possessions. When you assert control over their sexuality you scar their soul. You express your sense of their worthlessness. If a stranger passes you on the street and says ‘you are worthless’ it is a passing insult. When someone says it by sexually abusing you, it is an enduring wound.

What Harvey Weinstein did was not a crime like embezzlement or even physical assault. If we do not explain the depth of the violation, and the necessity of speaking out, we continue to approve. We are tacitly endorsing a world in which one person may diminish or destroy the dignity of another by asserting control over their deepest intimacy.

When someone abuses your body, you can never escape the scene of the crime. You will always carry the place where it happened, because you are the victim and the crime scene all at once. 

When human beings think of themselves as all-powerful they believe their desires have moral power. “I want” becomes “I can.” When you believe you are a god you become a beast. 

Human beings are the only animals that make love face to face. Even our closest evolutionary relatives do not do that. There is an intimacy we instinctively understand — that we are “knowing” someone on a level that nothing else can touch. 

I have sat in my office and listened to women devastated, deeply devastated, by the casual cruelty of men who treated them as soulless objects. Men who have trampled what is sacred. Men who believe that what they want is sovereign and women are vehicles of satisfaction. We need to change a culture of complicity to a culture of courage. It is important to talk about it because bad ideas are more dangerous than bad individuals. Bad individuals can be stopped but bad ideas can be spread.

The Talmud says that “those who are kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind.” If you do not speak out, it will happen again and again. As men we have to listen. We have to understand that the cruel do not deserve our kindness. Desire is not a moral category: dignity, respect, honor — these are moral categories. “I want” is not a moral category. You are not entitled to act on desire if it conflicts with decency. Our discussion must be mandated not by prurience but by principle. 

There are endless ways people can be cruel to one another. Some are deeper, some are worse. Souls deserve better.”

—  Rabbi Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. On his Facebook page.

“The silence was killing me.

And that's all there ever was. Silence. It was all I knew. Keep quiet. Pretend nothing had happened, that nothing was wrong. And look how well that was turning out.” 

― J. LynnWait for You

“It was not your fault, even if you were drunk, even if you were wearing a low-cut mini-dress, even if you were out walking alone at night, even if you were on a date with the rapist and kind of liked him but didn't want to have sex with him.” 

― Joanna ConnorsI Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her