We Need Both Sexes Involved In Sexual Assault

We Need Both Sexes Involved In Sexual Assault

“We need to reduce the stigma.”
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The main news in late 2017 consisted of the many stories of sexual assault and harassment made by celebrities against other notable people. There were so many stories that Time Magazine did their “Person of the Year,” issue on the notable people who came out with their stories, entitled “The Silence Breakers.’’

However, sexual assault and harassment is not a recent thing. The majority of the stories that broke were about instances from years past. For example, actress Rose McGowan accused director Harvey Weinstein of raping her in the 90s. But sexual harassment and assault has been and is still going on everywhere. According to Rainn.com, the most at-risk demographic for sexual assault are women ages 18-24. On college campuses, 11.2% of students will experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. Also, 4.2% of students have experienced stalking. Former Connecticut sexual assault nurse, Marcie Gawel, 36, recalls having similar statistics when working at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The majority of these notable stories were broken by women, and the media will depict sexual assault in a similar way. Many TV shows and movies that depict sexual assault as having a female victim and male aggressor. When the media does depict a male sexual assault victim, it is usually by the hands of another male, like in the second season of the ABC television show, American Crime. It is rare to see females being the assaulters in the media.

So what can we do to decrease these statistics? Former vice-president Joe Biden and Drew University Title IX Director Emily Raph believe it starts with changing the behavior of students and changing the idea of what sexual assault is. During a talk at Drew University, Biden stated that we had to get male students involved in sexual assault discussion. “This is a cultural problem,” the former vice-president stated. Biden recalled going to “It’s On Us” rallies, which works with over 500 college campuses to get every student, parent, and organization, involved and educated.

Sexual assault for many years was just thought of as a thing that women go through. Many TV shows and movies that depict sexual assault as having a female victim and male aggressor. When the media does depict a male sexual assault victim, it is usually at the hands of another male, like in the second season of the ABC television show, American Crime. It is rare to see females being the assaulters in the media.

But what is the best way to successfully integrate males into this conversation? Chloe Safier wrote a piece for Pacific Standard Magazine that recalled a session on sexual assault for male students, which eventually lead to males seemingly educating females on how to avoid rape. Raph, 37, plans several seminars on sexual assaults, which involve both male and female students. The freshman seminar educates students on what sexual assault is, and how it can be reported. Raph says this makes students more comfortable with reporting assaults, as well as educating them on what to do. “We need to reduce the stigma,” she says.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr.com

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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