Trigger Warning: This post contains detailed information about sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing. This piece is part of Not Your Fault, a Teen Vogue campaign that aims to educate people about the epidemic of sexual assault. For more on this series, click here.
In an effort to start a conversation around sexual assault, we decided to ask a group of young men to read a series of sexual assault stories on camera and share their reactions. The stories were submitted to us by real survivors who were eager to see their stories be told. There are a few reasons why we decided to do this.
Some of the survivors who submitted stories wanted to give people another chance at reacting to their story, while others wanted to tell their stories in a way that would allow them to remain anonymous. We also wanted to provide a safe space that would facilitate a real conversation about sexual assault, and we wanted this conversation to involve the people who are, by society’s standards, the least likely to have perspective on this issue. In the current conversation surrounding sexual assault, men are demonized, excluded, or they are responsible for perpetuating rape culture. It’s time to flip the script, because nothing will change until everyone is part of the conversation.
The men we invited to be part of this series are cisgender, transgender, black, white, Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, Buddhist, gay, straight, and pansexual. We hope that next time you hear a sexual assault story, whether it’s on the news or at your school, you are thoughtful and supportive in your discussion.
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