I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault is a space for older folks to offer support to young people dealing with the bullshit of rape culture alone.
The site was started by Lindy West after a woman writer shared a story about a friend’s young daughter who was being sexually harassed at school but “had no adult in her life who’s even remotely versed in concepts like victim-blaming and slut-shaming and boundaries and consent.” She wanted some resources to give the girl that would drive home the message: I believe you. It’s not your fault.
The site offers a space for young people to ask questions and ask for advice, but mostly its mission is to show that they’re not alone:
This blog isn’t about advice, exactly—though that’s certainly a part of it (ask us anything!)—as much as it is about solidarity. If your step-dad tells you that “it’s your fault,” we’re here to stand in defiance of that, forever, without question. If your teacher says you “shouldn’t have made a scene,” we’re here to shout in one great big voice that you didn’t make that scene—your harasser did. If your family or your town or your school seems so small and small-minded that you think you might just fold up into nothing, we’re here to let you know that the world is much, much bigger. If you have questions about anything, no matter how insignificant, we’re here, and there are so many of us.
West, who is fielding submissions, says there are some common themes in the narratives so far. “So many people are put through the dual trauma of being victimized and then being blamed/doubted/scolded for speaking up about your victimization.” But hopefully by sharing our stories we can “maybe break some cycles before they begin.”
Have a story to share? You can submit it here.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.