We have all seen the countless headlines, the countless strong women, and men, who have spoke about their horrific experiences. We have seen many individuals in authoritative positions be alienated and speak out against because of their actions. However, we still have a president in power who has been accused of the same things. We have a president who has been accused of sexual assault, of hurting women in the same way Harvey Weinstein has, but Donald Trump has not been ostracized.
If we ever want to come to a solution, if we ever want to fully combat the ugly epidemic of sexual assault then we need to start from the top. We cannot preach for a culture in which sexual assault is not the norm while we have a man who sexually assaults women as our leader.
This is normalizing sexual assault. The message that is being sent out to men, boys, women, and girls is that it is OK for a man to sexually assault women, in fact you may even end up president if you do. This is reinforcing sexual assault, in a deadly way. Sexual assault is an epidemic. It plagues our country, it plagues our women and our girls, it plagues our society. At 19 years old, almost everyone I know in my age group has had an experience with sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Whether it is out in downtown Binghamton, whether it was in high school, whether it was with a faculty member in a higher position, or just walking down the street, this plagues our society. Women are lucky if they make it through life unscathed from sexual assault or harassment, and women are consistently victim blamed for the harassment or assault they experience.
This is a problem.
It is a problem for our society, it is a problem for our country, and it is a problem for our current world. It is not an individual problem. It is not something that women have to handle themselves, it is not a problem that anyone should have to go through alone. When something this big happens to this many people it becomes a broad social problem.
If this many women, or men, were robbed a year or were hurt in any other way, the reaction would be vastly different. No one would be blamed for being robbed. No one would be told that it was their fault they were robbed, maybe they shouldn't be in that professional area because robbery often happens there, and no one would be told that they could have prevented the robbery.
We need to have this same attitude when it comes to sexual assault and harassment. This is never OK, it is NEVER the victims fault, and the victim never could have done anything differently to prevent against that sexual assault.
Sexual harassment is equally valid. It is never a joke. It is never okay to talk about a woman sexually in a professional setting, it is never okay to talk about a woman sexually with your friends as if she is nothing more than an object, and it is never okay to talk about women sexually when the women in question has not explicitly stated that she is enjoying that conversation.
It is never okay to trap a woman and make her feel like she has no choice. It doesn't matter how drunk you are and how drunk she is. The things you are doing, and the things you are saying are never a joke. They matter, they impact women, and they unfortunately have the power to hurt lives.
If we ever want this to change, if we ever want this awful culture we live in to end then we need to just stop. Stop making people feel like making a woman uncomfortable is ever funny, stop making men feel like their sexual interest is god's gift to women, and stop pursuing women when they have not explicitly stated they want to be pursued.
We need to do better. We don't need to keep talking about it. We just need to start doing better.