Proud2Bme | Taylor Swift’s Trial Verdict Impacts Us All

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Taylor Swift’s Trial Verdict Impacts Us All

By Emma Giordano--In the last few weeks, there has been a whirlwind of information regarding singer Taylor Swift’s sexual assault case. While on tour in 2013, Taylor said she was groped during a photo-op by Denver radio host, David Mueller. After quickly being fired from his job as a result of these accusations, Mueller filed a lawsuit against Swift in 2015, with Swift countersuing for a symbolic $1.

Within such a short period of time, the public has gone from total ignorance, to media overload, to reaching the final verdict on August 14th, in favor of Taylor Swift. As this case follows one of the most publicized celebrities of our time, this verdict is not an isolated event; this ruling has the potential to change the way we approach the topic of sexual assault and the way we support those who have survived it.

The problem with taking a sexual assault case to trial is that the walls of a courtroom are not constructed to comfort and protect the victim. When an individual testifies, we are asking them to relive one of the most intimate, painful, and damaging experiences in front of the eyes of their assaulter and court officials (and in Swift’s case, also the entire world). Their credibility is questioned, their personal consent disputed. Those who have not been lain under this microscope can’t possibly begin to understand the difficulty in testifying against sexual violence, which is why we must congratulate every individual who has taken that stand. Although each case is individual, the impact is rarely isolated.

Taylor Swift’s case is particularly important, and not just because she has won countless awards. Swift’s music generally attracts a younger fan base, which means her actions are often used as example for children, teens, and young adults who view her as a role model. While almost 70% of sexual assault victims are ages 12-34, it’s undeniable that Swift has fans that have been and will be victims of sexual violence in the future. And even those who are not fans are aware of the current discussion as a result of her trial.

By having the courage to testify and court, Swift has already brought immense attention to the importance of speaking about sexual assault. That alone gives hope to her fans, and other individuals who may fear a fight against their assaulters and the system that has so frequently let them down. Swift acknowledges the influence of this trial and ruling in a statement where she thanks the judge, jury, and her attorneys for "fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault." She adds that she hopes “to help those whose voices should also be heard.”

While having the bravery to testify in court has already given hope to thousands of individuals who may have needed Swift’s courage to start their own fight for justice, the final verdict is another message to more than just the survivors. Most obviously, the ruling in Swift’s favor provides an additional beacon of hope for those who may be discouraged from the many sexual assault cases that feel unjust. The verdict may very well inspire other victims to continue holding their ground and follow their case to trial.

Additionally, the verdict also sends a message to the assaulters in our society who believe their actions will receive no consequences. Sexual violence is a serious offense at the more brave victims we have who speak up against the criminals who commit these acts, the closer we are to ending the stigma against those who refuse to be silent and to showing these offenders that individuals like Swift and all other survivors of the world are a force to be reckoned with.

Though these highly-publicized sexual assault cases can be so helpful in forwarding the discussion in regards to awareness and hope for some victims, they also have the potential to be very triggering. In regards to the general subject matter that may force some to relive some painful memories, the stigma attached to victims, the focus on a victim’s body, etc., please remember to self-care at this time. Unplug, cater to your needs, and listen to yourself. This case isn’t just about Taylor Swift, it is about all of you, too!

Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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