It’s Time to end Sexual assault

March 30, 2018

EDITORS NOTE: Some content may be disturbing to some parties.

Imagine a young girl. It is her first year as college freshman. She is walking with her family back to their car after unpacking to make her new dorm room feel like home. The surrounding campus seems to give a sense of peace as the setting sun filters through the trees. She hugs her parents as they keep reassuring her that she will be safe, that everything is going to be fine. Later that weekend, everyone is hanging out and she is having a good time at her first frat party.

The next day she is the talk of the campus as the video on YouTube tells the story of how her night ended. There she is, looking dizzy and drowsy as three guys take turns with her. Comments under the video are saying she wanted it or that the guys got lucky. So much for the promise of peace and safety.

Sexual assault on college campuses is nothing new. What is new are the voices that have decided to speak up. Sexual assault victims around the globe are starting to take a stand and hold their attackers accountable for their actions.

In the California case of People v. Turner, a wealthy Stanford student was caught raping an unconscious young woman behind a dumpster. His punishment was six months in a county jail. This case caused a community uproar responding to the sentence.

The victim, “Emily Doe,” as she was referred to in court papers, said in a letter to the court, “This is not a story of another drunk college hookup with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice until today.” In gathering her courage to speak out, she took back her voice, found her strength and courage, and is taking a stand that many needed to see to feel comfortable to come out.

More needs to be done. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college. Also, most say they sexually harassed others because they thought it was funny, according to a report from the American Association of University Women Education Foundation who surveyed 2,036 enrolled college students. Nearly one-third of them said they did it because they thought the person wanted sexual attention, and around one-third said they did it because it just what people did. Sexual assault is not a trend. Sexual assault should not be a cycle. Sexual assault should not be happening.

Protests like the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have brought more attention to sexual assault across the nation while bringing strength, support, and action.

The MeToo movement was started by Tarana Burke in 2006. As a foundation after listening to a 13-year-old girl tell Burke the story of her assault. “I didn’t have a response or a way to help her in that moment, and I couldn’t even say ‘me too,’ ” said Burke.

The Times Up movement was put together a few weeks before this year’s Golden Globes where many celebrities took a stand with attire. Stars attending the ceremony wore black to represent solidarity for everyone that deserves respect but have spent too much time suffering in silence.

At the Grammy awards, many celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Camila Cabello, Pink, and others wore white roses supporting the movement.

Amazing individuals have stood up and in protest, demanded change. Everyone should stand up together so that generations can look back and say, “I’m glad we don’t have to go through that anymore, I’m glad we are safer!” No one will have to say, “Me too” but rather “No more.”

As a nation, citizens need to be educated, have attackers serve time, and most importantly, it needs to be made known that rape is not and will never be considered a joke. Statements like “Boys will be boys,” “She wanted it,” or “He could’ve stop his assault” need be stopped. A powerful nation can become united together to change lives.

White roses were worn by celebrities in support of “workplaces free of sexual harassment and a heightened awareness of accountability.”

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