Let’s Talk About Rape..Because We Have To.
Rape is uncomfortable, however, having the knowledge about the topic makes it easier to make changes in the lives of millions of people. Change starts with knowledge.
When it comes to rape, I am ‘THAT’ person who gets fired up to the extreme about the topic. Last week, I was on my college campus where there was a group of ladies silently raising awareness for sexual assault on college campuses.
The ladies had taped screenshots of misogynist tweets on light posts and had a mannequin with words such as slut, whore, and asking for it written on her naked body. The mannequin had a sign in front of her that read “One in five women will be sexually assaulted on campus”.
The goal of the women was to raise awareness. It wasn’t to call anyone rapists, but to get people to think of what that statistic meant.
I was sitting in class and a male student walked in bashing the women. He, along with two other girls were discussing the fact that college women claim rape and use it as an excuse to be a slut. Their exact words were “Sluts lie about rape after they get caught being a tramp on Snapchat”. The group of students were then discussing how the ladies outside were wasting their time because the ONLY way to make changes about rape is to get laws changed and that instead of “just sitting there”, they needed to talk to congress. To make things worse, they then made a comment that they were stupid because sexual assault doesn’t happen on college campuses very often.
There were multiple things about these student’s conversation that set me off. One of them being was that two out of the three students talking like this were women. As a woman myself, I was dumbfounded that other women could disregard the importance of being educated about sexual assault. As for the male involved in this conversation, it broke my heart that he was so oblivious to the social issue that could easily happen to his friends, his sister, or even himself.
Initially, I was furious. I took out my frustration with the situation on my social media. After a few days of reflecting, I realized being angry isn’t going to change the situation.
As an activist for raising awareness for sexual assault, it is my job to educate. It is my job to be patient and give as much information to change how rape is viewed.
That being said, let’s get educated.
-The following statistics shown are taken from the RAINN database(Rape Abuse & Incest National Network)
- Every two minutes, a sexual assault occurs.
Think about this, if you’re in a lecture for let’s say an hour… about 30 sexual assaults occur. In the span of an eight hour shift at work.. 240 sexual assault occur. In a 24 hour day, over 700 HUNDRED sexual assaults happen. The people being assaulted are mothers, daughters, sisters, sons, brothers, and friends.
A sexual assault victim isn’t a ‘Jane Do’. Every day, these 700 people’s assaults affect their families, friends, and themselves. Every single day, over 700 people’s lives drastically change.
700 people a day don’t get drunk, dress like ‘sluts’, or ask for it.
2. The age group most likely to be sexually assaulted are people ages 18–34.
Think about this… the people being targeted are the people who are working to be independent. These victims are at their most vulnerable stage in their life when it comes to taking care of themselves. This age group makes up 54% of sexual assaults. Going back to the story in the beginning, these people who are least educated about rape are most likely to be assaulted. Sexual assault isn’t something that just happens to people you don’t know. These victims are all around us, they are people just like us, working towards an education, a career, a family..
It isn’t a ‘coincidence’ that the majority of rapes happen in this age group. The problem lies within the mindset that ‘it wont happen to me’. In order for rape numbers to decrease, we have to understand that it is very possible to be a rape victim. Decrease in rape begins with being educated.
This idea SHOULD make you very uncomfortable if you are amongst this age group.
3. 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted.
Everyone has more than six women in their life. Take a moment to think of the women who are important to you, think of all the women in your classes, and think of all the women you see on a daily basis. Count them one to six and remember that a handful of these ladies have been assaulted. Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females experience rape or sexual assault through physical force and violence. 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 90% of adult rape victims are female.
4. MALES ARE VICTIMS TOO.
In fact, male college students are 5 times more likely to be victims than non-college student males. About 3% of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. 1 in every 10 rape victims are male. Although this number is significantly lower than women stats, they are equally as important in recognizing the issue of rape as a whole.
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Just for a minute… I want you to put aside your pride and everything you think you know about rape..
Think about the person in your life who means the most to you. I want you to close your eyes and hear his or her laugh, visualize their smile, and take a moment to cherish them at their best.
College students, think of going to a party with your best friend -Imagine having a couple of drinks and watching her laugh and smile like everything is right in the world. Think about the milestone of getting through another week… one week closer to the end of the semester.. one weekend closer to the end of the college adventure. You’re one minute closer to the “real world”.
Every two minutes, a best friend, a sister, a brother, a son, or a daughter is having that joy ripped away from them.
In a matter of seconds, those smiles are turned to fear and rejection. Over 700 hundred lives a day are changed for the worse through sexual assault.
Rape DOES happen on college campuses, more so than anywhere else. Just because it isn’t talked about, doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. It is so important to be aware. To the college students who believe women use ‘rape’ as an excuse to be a slut, I hope you never have to experience the devastation of having your body broken. I hope that if your best friends, sisters, or daughters become a victim, that you will change your views.
I understand rape is not easy to learn about, however, I encourage all of you to have the knowledge and understanding to take the issue seriously. I understand that sometimes, ignorance is bliss, however, you need to be educated just in case you are ever in the position to be the support system someone needs. I am not asking anyone to go out and protest, however, I am telling you knowledge is the greatest power.
Change begins with knowledge.
I strongly encourage you to check out the RAINN website. It offers lots of insight on multiple rape stats, as well as ways to get involved in the fight against rape culture.