SAAM Part Two; Real, living statistics

(Continued…) Please see my other blog here for Part One.

1 in 4-5 women.

Think about it. Think long and hard about it. Because sexual assault isn’t something that only exists in the movies. It’s not something that normally happens at night when a man springs on someone from the bushes (though this does happen). It happens at your best friend’s house. It happens with a girlfriend. It happens when with someone familiar and trusted. Sexual assault is real. And it has lasting effects because no one deserves to be violated through violence or otherwise.

Rape is under-reported; It’s one of the most traumatic and serious crimes that is only reported 40% of the time. I know I don’t need to do the math for  Feisty Femmers, but I want people to see it. Think the 1 out of 4-5 women statistic is gruesome? Increase that by the missing 60% and you get 1 in 2-3 women will be assaulted by the time they graduate. That means 50% of our female-identified classmates will be violated by someone who thought it was okay to access her body without consent.

It just isn’t reported.

We, as a campus community, as individuals who believe that every person has the right to feel safe in their bodies and free from violence – We, as a community need to come together. We need to be aware that sexual assault and violence consists of so much more than rape portrayed on television and movies. And even then, movies tend to romaniticize rape – it’s not the REAL side of rape.

Rape is painful. Rape is evil. And each time it happens, the perpetrator takes a victim’s body away from her. We have to speak up.

Rape jokes? Is there anything funny about rape jokes? I see “Overheard at the U” publish rape jokes… and then I say to myself, “the girl two seats away probably has a very personal experience related to that ‘joke.'”

I have heard people saying a girl ‘asked for it’ because she was flirting all night. Flirting? Flirting is not an invitation for anyone to violate another’s body. It doesn’t mean a person cannot change her mind later. We all have the right to say ‘no.’And everyone has the responsibility as human beings to respect that choice.

Everyone has the right to their own bodies. Everyone has the right to say no. It’s the most under-reported crime because our society’s AUTOMATIC response is to tell them to keep quiet about it. A person unaware of the consequences might say ‘you looked like you were asking for it.’ Or, ‘well you are his girlfriend.’ or, ‘you had too much to drink.’ And one I heard from a student regarding an individual’s situation was: ‘Well, what did they expect?’

Instead, we become decent and loving. Instead we say “I believe you.” “I’m here for you.” “I’m sorry that happened to you.” And  show them we are sincerely sorry for the pain they are in. Because sexual assault and rape isn’t funny. It’s not ever the victim’s fault – it’s the fault of the perpetrator. And too often our society lets the perpetrator go.

There are resources on campus if you would like to talk more about victim-blaming and sexual assault, relationship violence and rape. You can stop by The Women’s Center (Appleby basement), The Aurora Center (Boynton 4th Floor), GLBTA Offices (Appleby basement) and free counseling for students, UCCS (3rd floor Appleby) as well as a men’s group sponsored by The Aurora Center: Men Against Gender Violence (Boynton 4th Floor)

The Aurora Center’s 24/7 Help-Line 612-626-9111

It’s cruel for our society to blame an 11 year old girl for being raped. It’s cruel to blame a 19 year old college student when she wakes up with bruised genitals and realizes she was raped. It’s cruel when a lesbian is assaulted by a man and she’s blamed for it because she identifies with GLBT community.

Men aren’t stupid. Men aren’t incapable of thought. Men aren’t under-evolved beasts  driven only by sex; they can and they do refuse the biological need to  ‘fuck.’ (I use the word because it’s violent… and rape and assault IS violent). If we use victim-blaming, we are saying that men ARE all of these things.

Help me raise awareness. Help me to create a safer and more accepting environment. Don’t blame the victim. It’s one of the most painful things in the world to be violated and victimized and disbelieved; the only way we can support them on their way to healing is provide them with the resources to become a survivor.

No woman or man or transgendered person or child or ANYONE deserves violence. It happens every day. It happens every day on our campus; and our response as a society encourages the continuation of the cycle.

Break the cycle.

Did this article change your mind? Alter your views or opinions?

Want to read another blood-boiling story about victim blaming? See the next two links on an online article that was published for Thought Catalog.

Reaction to victim-blaming
Apology from Thought Catalog

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