By Ayane Tsutsumi
CW: sexual assault
Too many times have people excused an assailant's actions because they didn't have "bad intentions." Some common excuses are, “they’re a good friend of mine; they couldn’t have done it,” “they’re not like that when their sober,” or “they didn’t mean to harm you.” Although the statistics of “1 in 5 women” are well known, many people still find it difficult to grapple with the fact that sexual assault may occur between friends.
I have received similar defensive comments in the past. I have been told that "he was just drunk and is honestly a good person.” “He didn’t mean for things to happen like this." After hearing these excuses over and over again, I started to accept them. I told myself that if they’re a good person in all other circumstances, I should just forget about it. I tried to bottle up my pain and throw it away. Even while I tried to repress my trauma, certain questions would always pop into my head. I would ask myself, if the assailant didn’t have “bad intentions” does this make my trauma less valid? If the assailant didn’t have “bad intentions,” did they have “good intentions?” Joining BCC has helped me find solutions to these questions.
Even if the assailant is “usually a good person,” it does not negate the trauma that they have caused. They must still be held accountable for their actions. Dealing with assault, especially when it involves friends, is confusing and difficult for all parties involved. I understand that the gravity of the accusation may prompt people to automatically defend their friends. However with the lack of adequate consent education in school systems, it is very much possible that a friend may have engaged in inappropriate behavior. Regardless of supposed intentions, assault is assault.