We’ve seen this play out for years in sexual assault trials — from the idea of a “perfect victim” who should act a certain way on the stand (cry, not smile at all, be likable — whatever that means), or the ongoing rape myth that you can’t be sexually assaulted by a partner. The moment a survivor accuses someone of sexual assault, the survivor is on trial, too. Which is why so many of us have been afraid to go public because we won’t be believed or we will be forced to defend ourselves and our actions in the moment and after. “The most useful academic concept in understanding why this happens so predictably in every case involving a man and a woman in particular, is the concept of ‘himpathy,’” says Nicole Bedera, a Michigan-based sociologist who studies sexual victimization. “That’s the idea that we give expansive empathy to men when they don’t deserve it. That they’re getting more empathy than is reasonable, but also at the detriment of women in their lives.”

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