We live in a culture that justifies sexual violence against women and children by blaming the choices they have made, whether or not those choices are perceived as related to the exploitation or abuse. It is in this culture that a commercially sexually exploited child can be viewed as a “teen prostitute” who actively chose to be in “the life.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and it’s important to remember that sexual exploitation is a form of sexual assault. It’s on us to provide better options for vulnerable women and youth. It’s on us to change perceptions. It’s on us to prevent sexual assault in all its forms and to support survivors. Spread the word.