I would love your help

I have recently drafted a poem about victim-blaming following sexual assault. I hesitate to publish it for the obvious reason that it may be triggering, and for other reasons I’ll outline below.

I am seeking feedback from people who have experienced victim-blaming following sexual assault, and particularly from those who were assaulted while intoxicated.

I am seeking feedback from people who feel they are now in a safe space, that reading something triggering may upset them but won’t throw them into a downward spiral or exacerbate any mental health issues they’ve been experiencing.

If you’re not in that safe space yet, then I thank you for persisting this far, and suggest you don’t read the rest of this post as it won’t be relevant for and might be triggering—but rest assured I’ll post a trigger warning on the published piece, if I choose to publish it.

the remainder of this story contains references to sexual assault and victim-blaming that some readers may find triggering.

My working title is ‘The punishment does not fit the crime’ and it aims to highlight how victim-blaming is not only harmful and wrong, but also nonsensical.

In highlighting this theme, I’ve painted a portrait of sexual assault that doesn’t represent the stats we know—instead of being a friend, colleague or family member, in my poem, the perpetrator is a stranger, albeit a ‘familiar stranger’.

I’m interested in your thoughts on whether using that stereotype does more damage than is justified by the outcome of the poem—highlighting the logical inconsistency of victim-blaming. Is my explanation at the end of the piece sufficient? Or do I need to repaint the picture? What do I need to include in a sensitive trigger warning?

If you are interested in reading my draft and helping me shape the future of the poem, please respond to this post, or leave a private note if you prefer to remain anonymous.

As a sign of my appreciation, I’ll acknowledge your contribution when I publish the piece—unless you prefer that I don’t.