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."
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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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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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10 Special Places In Your Hometown You Can't Wait To Revisit When The Semester Is Over

I can't wait to go home!

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Everyone has their favorite local spots that they love in their hometown. These could be famous staples that everyone knows about, or your little getaway when life was hitting you hard growing up. Since being away from home I never understood how important they were to me until I wasn't there. It doesn't matter if you live in Maine or California, everyone has their spot or multiple spots.

Here is a list of 10 places that you will stop at once you get home.

1. Your Favorite Local Restaurant(s)

This restaurant or restaurants always come through whenever you want to eat your favorite food(s). It always made everything to perfection, and nearly every person knows your name in there.

2. Coffee Shop

The place that you always can meet your friends, or a quite place to get work done.

3. High School 

Going back to your local high school is always a positive walk down memory lane to see all your old teachers, and people that affected your life for the better.

4. Friends' Houses 

So many memories are there, and it's always so refreshing to see their faces and talk to people that you have grown up with.

5. Nature Spots 

You know those places that whenever you get to them can make you so much happier and more relaxed? That's what I'm talking about.

6. Walking Around Your Neighborhood 

Walking around your neighborhood is always fun, and you get to see a bunch of familiar faces.

7. Your Bed 

Because what's better than that...

8. Your Local Church 

It is always nice to see your youth group and elders whenever you come back.

9. Grandparents' House

You know when you are going over something good is always waiting behind the door.

10. Top Of A Parking Garage 

The ultimate best view to watch fireworks, sunsets, and sun rises.

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