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.