Men Are The Real Problem With Sexual Assault, Not Women

Men Are The Real Problem With Sexual Assault, Not Women

If you haven’t figured it out by now, allow me.
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Sexual assault is a disturbing, but prevalent, topic amongst college students. According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti sexual violence organization, college women between the ages of 18 and 24 are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted. What is even more disturbing is that 90 percent of adult rape victims are female, leaving 10 percent male. The University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center released the statistic that “Nearly 99% of sex offenders in single-victim incidents were male and 6 in 10 were white (Greenfeld, 1997).”

The gender gap between these statistics is extraordinary but raises the question of how. How is it that sexual assault among women is still such a pervasive issue within this new generation? How is it that over a hundred years after the women suffrage movement, which raised the discussion of rights and equality for women, women are still experiencing discrimination, abuse, and intimidation? After much reflection, I’ve come up with the best explanation possible- a lack of education.

Specifically, a lack of education amongst men.

The statistics speak for themselves. Men are the ones assaulting most of the women (and a small percentage of other men) in this country. However, what baffles me is how although MEN are assaulting WOMEN, WOMEN are the majority group being educated about this subject. Let us explore this concept.

I attended an all-girls Catholic high school, and from the moment of entry to the moment of graduation, sexual abuse, consent, and protection was discussed in detail from secular and religious aspects. We were taught to remain abstinent and told dressing conservatively would avoid provoking any unwanted sexual attention. We were given seminars on how to protect ourselves from predators, learning swift self-defense moves to deflect violence. We also investigated the issue of consent in detail and watched countless documentaries on what consent meant and how to ensure every sexual encounter we meet in the future is a safe one. Now, this is a thorough way of educating the young and impressionable minds of girls, but there is a slight problem. Pause and reflect. Do you see a glaring problem here?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, allow me. The problem is, that although an education of sex and abuse is more than necessary in our maturing into young ladies, we are not the problem. Out of the majority, MEN are the ones assaulting WOMEN. Why don’t we stop focusing our attention on how to avoid sexual assault, and focus our attention on teaching these young MEN NOT to sexually assault us WOMEN.

To dive more into the issue, I interviewed two friends who attended my brother all- boys high school. Through various questions, I collected the information that the sex education they received on a monthly basis was occasional. There was little detail on the anatomy of sex and how to go about it in safe and consensual ways. The discussion of abuse and the ethics of rape was also discussed seldom to none. (Interesting, because statistically, those are the men that are predicted to abuse and assault us women)! Additionally, when I asked if the boys were satisfied with the education they received they both responded no. There you have it folks, their words not mine! To take this outside of single sexed education let us move to college level sex ed.

Upon arrival at Syracuse University, a night dedicated to hearing the stories of sexual assault survivors was mandatory for all girls and boys in addition to completing a sexual assault course online (which by the way, almost everyone scammed their way through completion). The second semester, an event called Take Back the Night, was another event held to stand against sexual assault. All of the schools Greek Life was invited to attend (AKA a combined 30 Sororities and Fraternities). Almost every Sorority made it mandatory for each member (girl) to attend, however, with north of 12 sororities in attendance can you guess how many fraternities showed up?

The answer is: One

That’s right, ONE fraternity had all members (boys) attend this meeting. The irony kills! Especially since this specific fraternity in attendance was already facing a variety of sexual assault allegations and is on the fence of being banished from the school!

We as a society need to educate the men who will soon turn into leaders, public figures, and fathers. We cannot live in a world where women are taught to live in avoid and protect from these atrocities. Let us move to teach these young men the ethics of sex in high school sex ed. classes. To teach them respect and humanity. Let’s attack this problem from the root so in time girls don’t need to walk on a street and be afraid that their choice of skirt or pants could provoke a sexual attack.

I think I’ve made my point clear.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.therapiezentrum-klose.de/neurofeedback/

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5 Things I Really Wish I Knew ~Before~ Losing My Virginity

Advice to our younger selves.
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Everyone has a first time. We're all at different stages of our lives when it happens, which impacts how we approach the situation and how we feel about it immediately after and in reflections. Some people idealize their first time, some people regret it, some people feel nothing about it. I agonized over my virginity.

I wanted nothing more than to throw it at the first willing participant. I felt that it made me someone inferior to my friends who had already had sex, like somehow I was missing out on some great secret of life or somehow I was less mature than them. I spent a lot of time wishing it would just happen, and then one day, it did when I wasn't expecting it. I don't regret my first time, but because I had wished for it to happen for so long, I had built up this image in my head of how it would be that was completely unrealistic.

So, this is for those girls like me whose imaginations get the best of them. Here are some tips to ease your worries and prepare you for what it's really going to be like.

1. It's going to be awkward.

Not just the first time, every time. No matter how much porn or how many blogs or erotic fiction you read, you will not have any idea what you're doing. The other person probably won't, either. There are too many variables, and you're both so concerned with doing it well, you'll be focused on too many things to properly control your limbs.

2. Don't think about your body.

The angles that are required for things to work leave both participants in awkward positions with limbs in strange places. Don't look at your body; don't even think about where your limbs are. Just keep your eyes and mind on the other person and what they're doing and how you're feeling. If you're feeling bad, let them know, so you can change it. If you're feeling good, enjoy it.

3. Don't do it drunk.

Not even a little tipsy, at least not for the first few times. Alcohol throws in another variable and another reason your limbs are flailing listlessly on top of other unforeseen complications. Just wait until you've had a little practice to introduce alcohol into the mix. You want to actually remember your first time and understand what's going on.

4. You're not going to feel any different after.

I expected to feel a weight being lifted or some newfound maturity, but I really didn't feel any different at all. That's because I really was just the same girl as before. Finally having lost this imaginary flower didn't make me physically any different at all.

5. You're going to feel something.

There wasn't some profound emotional release afterward, either, but I did feel a little different. Again, not in the sense that something had actually change, but I felt different because I had placed so much importance on this, on having sex, and now it had happened. I wanted there to be some big release or celebratory moment, but really, I just felt the same. I didn't even feel a little more mature or experienced. I was positive that if I ever did it again, I would still have absolutely no idea what to do (which was true).

Cover Image Credit: Seventeen

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Calling Me Sensitive Isn't An Insult

What's so bad about being soft?

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Do you cry at sad commercials, or feel more emotional than those around you? Me too.

The truth is, some people are just born more sensitive than others. Researchers from Stony Brook University found that 20% of our population is pre-disposed to empathy, after doing fMRI imaging, which highlighted more engagement to emotional stimuli in those who are highly sensitive compared to those who aren't.

Your genes play a huge role in the way that you go through the world, and the way you experience all different types of emotional stimuli. Going through life is very different when you are more emotionally sensitive, and my experiences have shown me that increased sensitivity is often linked with an increase in mental illnesses, particularly if people live in an environment that invalidates their sensitivity.

As I've progressed in my own recovery from mental illnesses, I've got in touch more with my sensitive side. I've come to recognize that this is just the way my genes and brain biology are, and that fighting against things that can't be changed is pointless and won't help me move forward. This is especially true as I am working through my emotions and in therapy twice a week. So yes, I am sensitive, or "soft," maybe more so than other people.

And no, it is not a valid insult and I am not ashamed of my sensitivity.

I truly believe that my sensitivity is an asset especially in today's society where we could use a little bit more empathy. I am more in tune with small changes in people's emotions and the way they interact with others, and this helps me have better interpersonal relationships. I feel more deeply about others and causes, and while it sometimes causes me to get hurt, I think this has contributed to my passion and drive to make a mark on the world, which is something I really value.

I think empathy and increased sensitivity is even more important in 2018, given the socio-political climate we have here in the U.S. There are so many insults being hurled from both sides, but the one that really exemplifies this is the term "snowflake," or being insulted for being "soft." I've been called soft or too sensitive by people close to me, with the intention of being insulted. And my initial reaction was to be insulted. But, the more I've thought about it, the more I recognize how valuable it is at this time.

With everything going on in politics and the human rights violations happening every day, we could use a lot more empathy. It helps to understand other peoples' points of views, to truly feel where they're coming from, and why these topics matter so much to them. If we had a little bit more empathy, we might be able to sit down, come together, and solve some of the big problems we are facing currently (gun violence, sexual assault, just to name a few.)

If you're one of the highly sensitive ones, I see you. It's tricky, but I encourage you to reframe it as a strength. If you don't understand what it's like to be highly sensitive, please don't use sensitivity as an insult. We don't choose to be this way, and there are a lot worse things you could do than care too much.

Cover Image Credit:

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