Sexual assault has been a topic in the news lately — between the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #MeToo movement that took over social media, and the many other scandals that have been brought to the spotlight. Furthermore, stars such as Taylor Swift, Ke$ha and Reese Witherspoon have come forward to say that they are victims of assault/rape.
With that being said, we as a society have realized that sexual assault is a lot more common than anyone could ever guessed. Now that so many people have come forward sharing their experiences, I hope that this is a step forward in sexual assault awareness. With this awareness, I hope it leads to prevention.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), the definition of sexual assault is “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without consent to the victim.” The page went onto state that there are several forms of assault. These include: attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, and rape.
However, force is something that is much more than physical — as many perpetrators often use emotional force to coerce their victims into having sex. There are many ways someone would do so. These include: threatening to hurt you physically or mentally, or if this is someone that you’re dating, try to break up with them.
The RAINN Statistics page states that one in six American women are the victim of rape and attempted rape. What is an even more frightening statistic is that the site states that a woman is assaulted once every 98 seconds.
Something needs to be done with this.
As I said earlier, now that we are discussing sexual assault because of occurrences in the news, I hope that this leads to prevention. These numbers need to get lower, because it is not okay that so many women (and men too) have had dealt with it.
But how could we get there?
There are many ways we can. As parents, we can teach our children to respect their partners. We can teach them the power of no, and respecting it. We can integrate sexual assault awareness into school curriculms, starting from middle school all the way to college. The more awareness we create, the less likely this happens.
But, the most important thing is that we need to give victims the support and justice they need. We need to create a world where victims could feel comfortable coming forward and saying that they were wronged. And, after they vocalize what happened to them, we should come together to give them the justice they deserve. Many often don’t report assault because they often feel that they will not believed.
What is most shocking, however, is even when a woman does go forward and admits that they were assaulted that they are expected to get over it immediately. There is no quick fix for getting over something as traumatic as rape, and thus, telling someone to get over it and toughen up is not the answer as well.
And that has got to stop.
Therefore, now that we are talking about it, let’s turn these conversations into something constructive, eh?