Rape is a black area that has been made grey.Some people still believe that it’s the victim’s fault due to the possibly provocative clothing they’re wearing, or leading on the attacker. But how can a five year old lead on a man while still only being a child?
Margaret Cho is a woman with a large array of talents, from being a comedian to being a singer-songwriter; she has ensured that her past hasn’t defined her, but she has defined her past for us. Cho recently spoke up in an interview with Billboard magazine about her “childhood”, even though it’s anything but child like, with exposure to sexual abuse she became a victim of rape only at the age of 5.
Even for those who aren’t victims, rape is understandably a topic you’re not ignorant to but may not want to openly discuss. Yet, it should be openly discussed, much like Margaret Cho did during her interview. She was continuously raped from the age of 5 until she was 12 by a “family friend”. Ages in which her youth was robbed by an act once for love, now made malicious.
“I was raped continuously through my teenage years, and I didn’t know how to stop it. It was also an era where young girls were being sexualized,” she said. “For me, I think I had been sexually abused so much in my life that it was hard for me to let go of anger, forgive or understand what happened.”
Although Cho did speak out, she doesn’t want herself to become an exception. She doesn’t want a minority speaking out, she wants the majority speaking out. We all have our ways of expressing how we feel about some things, and Cho’s is singing: “I think having a song to perform live will allow others to talk about it. It’s a huge issue, and this was cathartic for me,” She wants to become a driving force for other victims, victims that can then one day say they’re a survivor.
Rape is a soul-stealing offence, forcing people into self-silencing oppression. Cho spoke out for the 1 out of every 6 women who is a victim of attempted or completed rape, with women aged between 16-19 being four times more likely to become a victim. We all have our own individual voices and need to speak out; “We have the power to come forward and say ‘This happened to me.’ ”
If you or someone you know is a victim of rape and/or any form of sexual abuse, contact the Rape Crisis helpline 0808 8029999 or check out thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk ; the index of crisis hotlines. If you feel passionate about social justice like Margate Cho and want to make a change, take action and donate at rapecrisis.org.uk