Everyone Is Affected By Sexual Violence - Directly Or Indirectly. This is Why...
Updated: Jan 25
Sometime in January 2020 I was pitching my work at an event and I decided to check how many people in the room recognised that we all are affected by sexual violence. Out of the 50 people in the room, about 7 put their hand up acknowledging that sexual violence affects more than 80% of us. But only two put their hand up for 100%. This crushed me.
The lack of awareness of how our connected lives are so interwoven and impact on each other was now so clear to me. I've been experiencing such difficulty speaking to businesses and organisations about the problem and prevalence of abuse for a long time - but now it all made sense. Highly educated, smart people lack the awareness of the depth of the issue.
Furthermore, many don’t think it affects their organisations, many believe it doesn't happen under their roof and it doesn't impact them even if it happens to someone outside of work...
In the video I will share with you why I claim that 100% of us are affected by sexual violence. Watch it and continue reading, as I dive deeper and share with you how much is this costing us - as individuals, communities and organisations.
In this video I discuss how many people are affected by sexual violence statistically and how everyone is impacted by its aftermath. However this video does not even scratch the surface on the actual impact on society - the cost of mental ill-health - on the system and for individuals - victims, communities and professionals involved.
One is the cost of lost productivity and labour for organisations, another is the loss of productive working people supporting the systems with their tax - due to suffering abuse and becoming debilitated by the aftermath or due to imprisonment. I don’t discuss reputation damages, for individuals, communities and organisations - that often cost people their livelihood, it costs communities their peace of mind, puts a negative light on their neighbourhoods, may even drive property prices down; and organisations face hefty compensations, legal fees , loss of clients and social moral judgement.
These costs are not easy to calculate, the damage is brutal for everyone involved and affects us all - no matter how close or how far we are from the cases themselves. Abuse is like a bullet that bounces and hurts everyone in its way - relentlessly and for years and lifetimes on end.
You may live in the neighbourhood of the perpetrator, how is this going to affect you? Did they even get reported (only 2% of rapes are reported), did they go to prison- if yes how long for; and if not, considering the minute statistical probability of it (less than 2% of the 2% reported) - will you feel safe walking the same streets? Will you look to move house if you could? And if you can’t leave - how do you reshape your life and live in fear and maybe even shame that you are from that neighbourhood?
You may end up sharing a house or even a bed with a victim or a perpetrator - how is this going to affect your life if they live with the trauma, or they have gone away with the harm they’ve done - now living their happy life with you completely unsuspecting of anything. You may never even know why they are so jumpy, paranoid at times, on edge, or struggle with connecting with you and being close… Is it because they are processing trauma or because they are expecting to be exposed any time now for their crimes?
You may be the CEO of an organisation that fails in its duty to at least attempt to prevent and safeguard your workforce - and an occurrence of sexual harassment or assault or even worse happens under your management. How do you resolve the damage done to individuals in your organisation and restore the faith of your clients and community.
The estimated £66 billion worth of costs involved with dealing with abuse is considered an underestimate. Most of the damage and therefore costs to people and communities I discussed above cannot be calculated.
I am so tired of having to ‘’prove and demonstrate’’ to people how everyone is affected by sexual violence directly and/or indirectly. I find it heartbreaking to see how people and organisations shy away from a topic and reality that literally damages their own lives in one way or another.
Reducing and preventing harm through education is not new or revolutionary. You are likely to have attended a course on First Aid, or on how to pick up boxes safely, or how to use a fire extinguisher - none of these sound outrageous - they are there to educate us how to understand danger and act to safeguard ourselves and others.
Why are we not adopting Preventative measures around sexual violence? What will companies do when in the near future Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are legally banned? How are these NDAs actually safeguarding people and fighting the culture that enables this behaviour to continue?
I recently stumbled upon a quote by Socrates that made me realise I've been going through the hardest battle fighting the old (or as someone recently said - the dinosaurs in power - the stubborn people, structures and organisations scared of change and the taboo topics), rather than seeking alliance with those who are brave, forward looking and eager to build a new world that is free from abuse of power, of our bodies and of our differences.
I want a better future. I am not a person who shrugs and says ‘’This is how things are.’’ No, I am a dreamer who takes action, I am a catalyst for positive social change. I am prepared to sit in discomfort and be and fight for the change I want to see in the world - one step at a time.
And I am seeking others, other people who care enough to join me in my Preventative work. I am seeking other people who, like me, believe that we can change the world if we adopt the power of education and prevention.
Do YOU want a better future?
Get in touch, let's make it happen! email@example.com