I feel like people do not fully grasp the effects of rape/attempted rape/sexual assault on victims. It’s completely alien to a lot of people. Maybe that’s why people trivialize it. Because, I swear, if you see its effects firsthand and/or experience it, your blood will boil.
It’ll fuck you up. Sometimes, some people don’t get it until they date people who’ve been victims or get intimate with them. Sometimes, some people don’t get it until their sibling(s) become(s) victims. Until these happen, some don’t get it, even when they hear all gory details.
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Even perpetrators never seem to grasp the extent of damage they do to the lives of their victims. It’s simple, you rape or assault someone, you most likely fuck them up for life. Its effects will never leave them. It’s that serious.
If you’ve been a perpetrator in the past (out of naivety, childishness, stupidity or just being a straight up bad person), just know that you’ve fucked up the lives of your victims. If you’re someone who has now unlearnt all the bad & gotten education about consent, etc,…
First step is to reach out to your victims and start off with a genuine, heartfelt apology. It doesn’t fix them. It doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t change shit about what you’ve done. But it might make a tiny bit of difference for them and their lives.
Keep in mind that you’re not entitled to their acceptance of your apology. You’re not entitled to them being nice to you. They do not have to forgive you. They might curse you and send you away with all their anger, etc. And rightly so. Just know you completely deserved it.
Now, after apologising, you have to keep making the effort to undo some of the damage you’ve done. You will never be able to undo all of it. But you can start to make a difference going forward, both with your victim(s) and with people around. Teach consent. Support victims. Etc.
And if your victim(s) never forgive(s) you, that’s just the cross you will have to carry for the rest of your life. Trust me, it is nothing compared to the damage you have done. Not even remotely close. It’s merciful. Just never stop making the effort to undo all you’ve done.
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We’re all still learning about consent & scenarios we never considered problematic. What we all need to do is to review our past behaviours & pick out the problematic, based on new knowledge. If you’ve messed up someone’s life or misbehaved, reach out, talk about it, apologise.