It’s time to do something
One in five college women will be sexually assaulted this year unless something changes. And it’s not just females, one in 16 guys will be sexually assaulted while in college as well. (National Sexual Violence Research Center)
This is no joke
For too long we have not done enough to stop it. There has been stigma, fear and hopelessness associated with reporting rape on college campuses. We’ve all heard the ridiculous excuses, “Boys will be boys”, “Did you see what she was wearing?” “He was asking for it.” ” She was drunk.” “He didn’t mean it.” “But he has such a bright future.” “He never said no.” “What’s the big deal?”
This needs to end because sexual assault is not something that someone just gets over. The trauma caused by sexual assault is serious. So often victims of sexual assault develop depression or PTSD as the memory of the assault continues to haunt them. Or they turn to self-harm or substance abuse or an eating disorder to cover up their pain.
So it’s time to do something!
But what? Do we hashtag another cause? Wear another color? Buy another t-shirt? These things certainly have their place. But I’d like to get more real. The theme of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is Prevention is Possible. I agree with this statement. So let’s get busy.
Sexual Assault – It’s On Us
There is a powerful campaign called It’s On Us. This campaign suggests real ways that we can all step in to prevent sexual assault. For example, It’s On Us:
- To intervene if a situation appears questionable. No more walking away.
- To trust your gut. If it looks bad, it probably is. No more “It’s none of my business.” or “I’m probably over-reacting.”
- To protect those who have had too much to drink. No more turning a blind eye at parties where someone is too intoxicated to give consent to sex.
- To agree that non-consensual sex is rape. Period. No more grey areas.
–If consent can’t be given because someone is too drunk = rape
–If consent wasn’t voluntary or mutual = rape
–If consent was suggested but then withdrawn = rape
–If consent was given in the past, but not now = rape
If you want to take the It’s On Us Pledge to make a personal commitment to keep yourself and others safe from sexual assault, CLICK HERE. Take the Pledge.
While I encourage you to take action, I also want you to protect yourself in the process. So here are some practical things you can do if you suspect a sexual assault could occur:
- Enlist the help of friends, a bartender, a bouncer, campus security, the police. Don’t go it alone.
- If you notice someone is being cornered or isolated at a party or bar and is too intoxicated to protect themselves, step in. Create a distraction, draw attention to something else, whatever you can do to separate the people in the situation.
- Be direct…if you see a questionable situation, ask if they need help.
- Stick together. Take friends home, never leave someone behind.
Let’s be alert. Let’s be aware. Let’s take action. Let’s be part of the solution and change the statistics!
But here’s the thing…in the end, if a sexual assault does occur, it is NEVER your fault. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. It is always the rapist’s fault.
If you or a friend has been sexually assaulted, please seek help. You need to tell your story. You can heal. Please contact TheHopeLine® or the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
You can also read my blog on Coping with Sexual Abuse.