As a survivor of sexualised violence, I feel compelled to shed light on the crucial issue of how professionals in law enforcement and the justice system treat survivors like myself. These individuals play a pivotal role in our healing and pursuit of justice. Unfortunately, my own harrowing experiences have demonstrated the dire need for mandatory training on trauma reactions, freeze response, rape myths, victim-blaming, and sexualised violence. Only through comprehensive education can we ensure that survivors are met with the understanding, compassion, and support they deserve.
When I summoned the courage to report my assault, I expected empathy and a sense of safety from the authorities. Instead, I was met with indifference and a lack of comprehension regarding the profound impact of trauma. I was even told that rape drugs do not exist, and it was implied that I am not telling the truth. It is imperative that professionals undergo mandatory training on trauma reactions, enabling them to recognise the signs and understand that trauma manifests in various, often unexpected ways. Equipped with this knowledge, they can respond with empathy and provide survivors with the support needed to navigate their healing journey.
During the disheartening process of seeking justice, I encountered the pervasive influence of rape myths, which only exacerbated my anguish. Professionals must be educated to challenge these damaging misconceptions that perpetuate victim-blaming. By dismantling rape myths through mandatory training, professionals can abandon preconceived notions and approach survivors without judgment. This shift will empower survivors to share their experiences without fear of being doubted, blamed, or re-traumatised.
One of the most painful aspects of my ordeal was the victim-blaming culture perpetuated by those tasked with upholding justice. Survivors like me deserve a system that centres our experiences and places responsibility solely on the perpetrators. Mandatory training should instil in professionals a deep understanding of the devastating impact of victim-blaming language and attitudes. Through this education, they can create a safe and supportive environment that fosters healing and encourages survivors to come forward without fear of stigma or further harm.
To combat sexualised violence effectively, professionals working for the police or within the justice system must possess a comprehensive understanding of its intricacies and legal frameworks. During my own journey, I witnessed a lack of knowledge, belief, empathy, and support, resulting in mistakes during the investigation and a diminished chance for justice. Mandatory training on sexualised violence will equip professionals with the knowledge to identify signs, collect evidence sensitively, and facilitate survivor-centred investigations. By fostering collaboration among various agencies, survivors can receive the holistic support they need, promoting a sense of justice and healing.
The transformation of our legal and justice systems begins with mandatory training for professionals who come into contact with survivors of sexualised violence. By sharing my own experiences, I hope to evoke an emotional response that motivates change. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that those in positions of power possess the knowledge and empathy required to support survivors on their healing journey. Let us forge a path towards a society where survivors are met with compassion, understanding, and justice, fostering healing and empowering countless individuals to reclaim their lives.
Chairwoman, Kein Opfer e.V.