Mandatory Sexual Assault Training
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Health and Wellness

To Mandatory Sexual Assault Training, AKA The Sugarcoating Of Rape Culture

Sugarcoating assault perpetuates the issue.

To Mandatory Sexual Assault Training, AKA The Sugarcoating Of Rape Culture
Maggie Joyce

With the rise of #MeToo, Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, Bill Cosby's prison sentence, and countless other accounts of sexual assault, rape culture is finally being shaken to its core. More specifically, sexual assault has always been a considerably large threat to college-age women. To combat this, college campuses everywhere are mandating sexual assault awareness programs for its students. Although this may seem like a step in the right direction, it is quite the opposite.

To the creators of the "Not Anymore" program: get someone to rewrite your scripts.

As a sexual assault survivor, it excited and comforted me to get an email about a mandatory sexual assault program. I thought that finally, my school who has swept so many sexual assaults under the rug, was addressing such a prevalent issue for college students. I was pleasantly surprised by the survivor stories they shared, to make it more real. I thought that maybe this wasn't like all the other 'awareness' programs that simply lectured about drinking, partying, and stranger danger.

It was.

I couldn't even stomach getting through the entire program before finding myself fuming. Comparing sexual assault to forcing a cheeseburger down someone's throat, using "verbal deflects" to avoid rape, stressing the already obvious standard drink size that we all learned in the 7th grade, and, essentially, preparing its viewers – specifically women – to be raped and what to do when they know they are about to be raped.

I don't doubt that the program meant well. I don't doubt that they meant to stress awareness, to not tolerate victim blaming, and to change the narrative around sexual assault. But they did the exact opposite.

If we want to make any progress, if we want to keep people like Kavanaugh out of office (because we all know he isn't the first or last), if we want to protect college students and people everywhere, we need to stop sugarcoating this issue and address it for what it is.

We don't need to be educating women like me about sexual assault. We have lived it. That is enough education in and of itself. We need to teach would-be future predators how to not be predators. We need to teach respect. And, unfortunately, this is a systemic issue that cannot be solved by a mandatory series of videos to watch and multiple-choice questions to breeze through.

More than this, why is this an issue that none of us worry about until we are sending our children off to college? Why aren't we including this in our sex education? Why aren't we funding professionals in the field to teach sex education rather than disinterested Physical Education teachers? Rapists don't just become rapists. Rape doesn't just happen. It's all a part of a chain of events and systemic ideals that we as a society have let get completely out of hand. And yet, we think mandating a 2-hour video on the dos and don'ts of sexual assault and drinking, will somehow solve the issue.

This Ostrich Effect we keep reverting back to – burrowing our heads in the sand – will do nothing but perpetuate the strong-standing value our society has on rape culture. Stop comparing rape to involuntarily eating a cheeseburger. Stop teaching women what to do in 'risky situations'. Start teaching the perpetrators that we won't tolerate it anymore. Start taking the power away from the power hungry. Until we swallow that difficult pill, we will continue this vicious and disgusting cycle.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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