This Is How We Live: Sexual Assault on College Campuses

This Is How We Live: Sexual Assault on College Campuses

No choice we make ever "asks for it."

I'm 20 years old, living independently for the first time, and of course, I want to go out and experience the world on my own terms. Every student -- every person -- deserves to be able to experience the world safely.

But we can't.

As we're ordering takeout and getting dressed for a night out, the length of our skirts is up for debate. If it's too short, we'll be portrayed as a slut. If it's too long, we're a prude. Either way, we're at risk. If we wear jeans and a t-shirt, we aren't trying hard enough. If we wear a short, slinky dress, we're trying too hard. Either way, we're at risk.

Once we finally make it out the door, there's the debate of how to get there. If we walk to the bar, we have to navigate dark sidewalks. If we uber, we have to wonder about the driver. When we arrive, we all know the rules.

1. Don't drink too much.
2. But drink enough to be "fun."
3. Don't dance too close.
4. But dance close enough to be "fun."
5. And of course, don't leave your drink unattended.

This is the life that students -- specifically women -- lead. Every evening out, and even many evenings in are a constant series of decisions, worries, and choices. If we ever let our guard down, we risk our own safety. Although it's not our fault, when something goes wrong we know that we will be analyzed and questioned and blamed.

Now let me tell you what our lives would be like if these fears weren't necessary.

We would order pizza as we got dressed, and not worry whether or not we'd fit into that tiny dress that always turns heads. Some of us would zip ourselves into short dresses and skirts, but without fear of coming off as a slut, or "trying too hard." And some of us would relax in our jeans and shirts, with no worries of being told we're lazy or not trying hard enough.

We would walk to the bar to save money so that we could spend it on nachos later, with no worries of what lurks in the corners. There would be no need for safety apps, those apps that automatically call your roommate if you don't check in every 30 minutes.

Once we're there, we could drink without being scared. We could leave our drink on the counter and go dance, then come back and it would be exactly as we left it. We could dance however we wanted, and not worry about the ways that someone might read into our hips, our smiles, our legs.

None of these choices are "asking for it". It doesn't matter if we wear a short skirt or baggy pants, if we drink or stay sober, if we go home early or stay out late. No one asks to be assaulted. College women spend our lives making hundreds of seemingly small choices, always knowing that if something were to go wrong, our choices would be analyzed and we would be blamed.

Here is who to blame: the assaulter. The man who we will be told "just misread the signs," or "thought you wanted it." Most of all, blame the world that tells us that it's the victim's fault. That says we "sent the wrong message." We didn't.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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18 Reasons Why January Is The Worst Month of the Year

Just wake me up when it's February.

Let's be honest, no one likes January. It's a filler month. The month of gloom and doom and back to school. No one asked for it. And if you're still not convinced, here are a few reasons why January sucks.

1. Christmas is over.

No more Christmas cheer.

2. You have to go back to school.

3. And that means homework

4. Lots and lots of homework

5. You miss your mom.

But don't worry, you can still call her to complain about everything. That's why they invented cell phones, right?

6. It's cold.

7. You can't seem to look cute under all those layers of clothes.

8. You get sick.

And of course your mom isn't there to take care of you. But don't worry, you can still call and complain about how sick you are.

9. And you don't know how to take care of yourself when you get sick.

10. "New Year's Resolutions"

We all know it's BS.

11. Brussels sprouts are in season.


12. Valentine's Day decorations are in stores already.

Reminding us lonely people that we are still, in fact, alone.

13. You can't seem to be motivated for anything.

14. There are no good movies out.

Besides Death Cure, cuz heyyyyy Dylan O'Brien.

15. You have no money because you spent it all during the holidays.

16. There is no sunshine.

17. You're a little bit chubby.

Baby got back. And a little bit of front too.

18. And lastly, we all just want to be in bed, but we can't.

Wake me up when it's February.

Cover Image Credit: Emanuel Hahn

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12 Things I Learned During My First Semester Of College

College is one hell of a learning experience

Being a freshmen in college can be terrifying yet exciting. As there are things to learn academically, there are personal things to learn and acknowledge. College is an experience to learn things about yourself and about the world. Here are 12 things I learned during my first semester of college:

1. Be the bigger person

People can be really shitty at times. But, the best thing you can do is forgive and be the bigger person. Don't let people get to you. Being the bigger person will not only make you feel better and help you grow as a person, but it will make you stronger and wiser.

2. It's okay to grieve

Sometimes we are taught to keep all of your feelings on the inside, to not show people your pain and pretend that you are completely fine. That includes pretending you are okay, even when you lose someone dear to you. For example, losing your loved ones can be traumatic and heartbreaking and sometimes, you need to scream and cry and grieve about it. You need to talk about it and take your time to grieve. It's okay to grieve.

3. Ask for help

Most of us know how it feels to be the person that helps everyone else, but won't ask for help themselves, especially when we really need it. Not asking for help when you need it the most can hurt you physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you have a good support system who want to be there for you and help you, take their help. Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help for yourself.

4. People leave and it's fine

People leave. Friends, family, relationships. People leave. It is hard to accept that your closet friends can leave you without giving you a reason as to why they don't want to be your friends or how your SO says they don't want to be with you anymore and just leaves. When you lose some of your closest friends, it hurts a lot, especially when some of them didn't give me a reason for why they did what they did. However, you learn the hard way that people leave and if they aren't willing to stay in your life, they aren't meant to be in your life. You deserve better.

5. Get toxic people out of your life

If your friend says you need to start wearing makeup because you don't look good without it, end that friendship and tell them to get out of your life. If your relative calls you fat and that you need to lose weight because no guy will date you, get them out of your life. If your SO is abusive, end that relationship and get them out of your life. No one should tell you how to live your life, change yourself for someone else, or hurt you for any reason. If they are toxic and negative, get them out of your life. You deserve to have positive and caring people who will support you no matter what size you are or how you look without makeup.

6. Self care is important

Make sure to put yourself first. Make sure you are helping yourself out and caring for yourself before anyone. It's not selfish, it's necessary. You are a priority. Your life only gets better when you do. Work on yourself and the rest will flow.

7. It's okay to make mistakes and fail

You learn this the hard way. If you are the type of student that always gets A's and B's and having a high GPA in high school, you are up for a rude awakening in college. Not that I'm saying it happens for all students, but majority of them will get bad grades. You are going to do bad on quizzes and exams. At first, you are going to feel that this was not how things were suppose to be. Yet, with making mistakes and failing, sometimes you learn and understand that it's okay to make mistakes. It's ok to fail. Failure is a part of success. Sometimes, we need that eye opener that we need to work harder and make sure to do better next time. We need to learn from our mistakes and not give up because we didn't get it right the first time. A bad grade does not determine who you are and neither does one bad semester or an awful year. You have more than one chance and you can do better. Don't give up.

8. Quit that job if you hate it

Honestly, if you don't like it, quit it. If it's making you mad, sad, or just unhappy then don't wait, quit. Find a new job. You can find a better job that you'll probably like more and maybe even get paid more. Don't continue to feel like you are stuck. Change your surroundings.

9. Get out of your comfort zone

Do the things you have always wanted to do but never had the guts to. Give plasma? Do it. Get a nose piercing? Go for it. Dye your hair blue? You have my blessing. Go crazy. Face your fears. Do what makes you happy and get out there.

10. Find good friends

Having good friends is important to stay sane. It's like having another family. They are there to support you during the fun times but more importantly, during the hard times. Their the ones that won't judge who you are or what you look like. Never take those friends for granted and never let them go.

11. Make time for yourself

All of us are so consumed with school and work and other life problems that we don't have time for ourselves. You worked your butt off to get that GPA and worked a stressful job just to make some cash. You work hard and you need a break. Sometimes you need to stop and take a breather. Yes, school and work is important, but so are you. Make yourself a priority too. Treat yourself.

12. Love Yourself

This is a huge one. Love yourself. You are smart. You are hardworking. You are beautiful. You are kind. You are amazing. You are a unique person and deserve to express your individuality. You all are amazing people and deserve to be treated with respect and love. Never let anyone tell you any different.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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