Rape has historically been a subject the public has shied away from speaking about and addressing as a society. Words like rape and sexual assault instantly make us feel uncomfortable and even dirty. We like to believe that horrible crimes like rape rarely occur so that we can distance ourselves from the effects of rape culture. Society likes to treat rape as a taboo subject, but in reality, its a bigger part of our world than we think.

According to the Rain Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes. Newsflash -- whether we like it or not, rape is a major issue in our society and in light of recent high-profile sexual assault cases, I think it’s about time that society starts to treat rape as the severe and all too common problem that plagues our communities.

Although recent news stories such as the Stanford Rape Case draw much-needed attention to the topic of rape, it is important that we understand every rape case deserves to receive equal attention and concern from society. Every victim of sexual assault deserves justice regardless of their income, ethnicity, religion, education, gender or legal status. Maybe people are ignorant or naïve, but it is clear that humanity does not understand the true impact of rape on our culture.

Rape is toxic and it distorts the victim’s very idea of love and security within relationships. Ultimately, rape is not just an act of singular physical attack, but an assault on the entire dimension of a person’s wellness causing repercussions that become a permanent part of the victim’s life. After reading article upon article covering the topic of rape, I find myself sickened by the amount of people who are justifying the actions of guilty rapists. I do not care who you are or what you do, there is no excuse in the world that can justify stripping another human being of their basic rights to safety and happiness by committing the act of sexual assault.

Regardless of what anyone says, rape is never the fault of the victim. What a person wears, if he or she consumes substances, or if he or she is a part of the party scene does not in any way mean that a victim is even partially responsible for their attack. These victim-blaming arguments are destructive and are flawed ideologies that unfairly and undeservedly shift the blame away from the perpetrator toward the victim. No matter what actions or decisions were taken by the victim, no one ever deserves to be a victim of sexual assault. The fact is, rape can occur anywhere to anyone and no amount of precautionary measures can ever guarantee it won’t happen.

Society, we have failed because while so many individuals are taken advantage of, we seldom hold those who commit assault accountable for their heinous offenses. Instead of creating excuses for the assaulter, we should be doing everything in our power to stand in solidarity with the victims. We should be outraged at lenient verdicts and perpetrators that do not show remorse for the actions, but instead we remain all too silent about the issue of rape.