4 Reasons Why Sexual Assault is an Everybody Issue

4 Reasons Why Sexual Assault is an Everybody Issue

With the prominence of these issues recently it's important to understand why this needs attention. Possible triggers to follow.
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Recently, many people have bravely come out in Hollywood and Politics with their stories of sexual assault and harassment. The accused have had a wide range of responses to the accusations from straight up denial or diminishing the accusation, to admitting to assaulting the victim. The American public has also had reactions to these accusations from complete disbelief to utter shock and support. However, the most dangerous belief that anyone can have is to not believe the victim at all. This is a major issue that affects society all together whether or not we realize it. Here are four reasons why sexual assault and harassment must be an everybody problem.

1. At Least One Person in our Life has Been a Victim of Sexual Assault

Whether we know of them or not, there is at least one person in our life who has been a victim of sexual assault and harassment. I can think of at least five people I know off the top of my head who have been sexually assaulted and harassed. If you don't know someone in your life that has, that does not mean it hasn't happened. It just means they have not felt like they can or ever will be able to share such traumatizing events from their life, or it could be that their abuser is still in their life. It is important to always be there for those we care about to discuss these injustices in a compassionate and non-judgmental, non-blaming manner. Listen actively, not passively, and give thoughtful responses to their emotions.For those who don't share keep an eye out for if someone has been acting out of character (shying away from physical advances), or if there are physical signs of abuse (bruising or scratches). It is our responsibility as their loved one to show this level of care.

2. At Least One Person we Don't Know has Been a Victim of Sexual Assault

We should care just as much about the victims we don't know as for those we do. They are human beings, just as we are. Equals on the playing field of life. Another way to think of this is in the sense of humanity as one big family. They are someones sibling, child, cousin, parent, or grandparent. Or maybe they don't have anyone left to look after them. So it is our job as their global family to look out for them.

3. The Lifelong Mental Trauma and PTSD Associated with Sexual Assault

Sexual assault and harassment is such a mentally degrading experience for people. They wonder if they could have done something to prevent it, or if they were really at fault for what happened to them. It is an experience that follows someone throughout life. Some people are able to grow past it, but some people are so heavily traumatized by their experience that it is difficult or even impossible to move past. Even if you move past the experience, that doesn't mean that you ever forget or that post-traumatic experiences can never occur. It just means they have learned to push that part of them to the back of their mind. This is such an important factor, as it affects the quality of a persons life and their mental and physical well being. Especially as mental health is slowly becoming as much a priority as physical health. If people are experiencing poor mental health it may affect their professional and personal relationships, and ability to function effectively in school and work. To push them away due to disbelief is to deny their personal struggles and experience, and may worsen their poor mental state.

4. Sexual Assault is Still Such a Prominent Issue Today

Even with campaigns and ads and civil rights marches we are still facing this problem. It is mainly because of the lack of consent teachings in sex ed classes in schools, parenting methods that teach young minds to objectify others and prescribe to gender normative ideas of sex, and the blatant disregard of the United States government for these serious issues. When I was growing up, I don't recall there ever being a huge discussion regarding consent in school. They mostly told us if we were going to have sex we should wear condoms or use birth control or abstain from sex entirely. Mind you, my school didn't offer free condoms to students (as far as I know). Then is the parenting prong of this problem. Young boys and girls are taught their "place" in society from a very young age based on gender norms. Women take care of the house and bare children and men are the breadwinners and the leader of the house. Of course this only accounts for male on female violence as the "weaker" sex, or male on male violence to assert a higher level of dominance. Then there is the government. We have politicians denying they committed atrocious acts on underage girls, and the governments evident dismissal to take action. We have people high up in government trying to remove Title IX protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. We have a president that has been accused of misconduct as well! All this shows the grassroots is that this is not an issue that needs addressed, nor an issue that they should care about.

Cover Image Credit: Ellsworth Airforce Base

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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