Sexual assaults need to stop being so overlooked

Ali Izzi

Deputy News/Features Editor

 

According to the Huffington Post in a 2014 article, 97 percent of rapists are NEVER incarcerated. Your next thought might be this: If they aren’t reported then how can the assailant be incarcerated, right? Wrong. Extremely incorrect. This is what is wrong with society.

Consider this, someone reports being sexually assaulted and then nothing is done in response because let’s face it, most of the time that cliché is right, the attacker is innocent until proven guilty and the victim’s claim is false until proven true. The same article states that college students think 50 percent of sexual assaults are false claims. Their study shows that, in fact, only 2-8 percent of sexual assault reports are actually false claims. People don’t believe the victim- that is step one in victim blaming and step one in the reason that victims may not speak up. It isn’t their fault they were assaulted; it isn’t their fault they feel they can’t report it. Period.

The fact that 97 percent of these rape/sexual assault assailants are still roaming around is terrifying to victims, and it should be scary to everyone else. And what should be even scarier is that this society is the reason they are still out there. We put the predators before their prey. It’s painfully clear that Brock Turner’s case was unjustified, and it truly is a prime example as to why most attackers are not taking consequence. His swimming career became more important to a judge than the fact that he knowingly, and willingly penetrated a woman who was unconscious. Nothing will ever make those actions okay. They shouldn’t be tolerated, and yet somehow they are.

Let’s also remember that women have a 1 in 5 chance in the United States of being raped. That doesn’t count sexual assault which is way more common, so that number grows. On a college campus alone those chances jump to 1 in 4. According to this statistic, by the time I graduate, a quarter of my fellow class may have been sexually assaulted during their time here. I’m not saying a quarter of them will, but that’s what those numbers say and that should hit you at least a little. In 2014 the U.S. was ranked 13th in the world for rape, a statistic I honestly don’t find surprising considering the leniency some have given it.

I don’t want to pin men or women as attackers because the well-known truth is that rape and sexual assault don’t discriminate sex or gender, but I am a woman. I am living in a world where I have a higher chance of being raped than getting breast cancer, and for some reason, the number of people who want to fight the injustice of sexual assaults is sickeningly small. It needs to change.

Thankfully that small number of people has a growing voice. For example, on our own campus students can participate in various advocacy groups such as S.A.V.E. and the Vagina Monologues to spread the word about sexual violence. And in my opinion they do a pretty darn good job of stating the cold hard truth. I’m proud to say that Springfield College takes part in that movement.

I am also going to plainly state that I am proud of how the college is handling this attack that happened in Abbey Hall. As an Abbey resident who is uncomfortably close to what happened, I am grateful that everyone from public safety to the facilities workers are supportive of the residents. But I also must say that we as students must understand that statistically speaking this cannot be the only sexual assault that has happened all year. I am not placing blame on a victim or a friend or the school for not reporting or sharing any other assaults, but I am reminding everyone that we, the students, are the ones who have the ability to change the rape culture on campus that forces people to feel unsafe/unvalued to report it.

To me it is a shame that the hype of a non-existent clown on campus caused more uproar among a large number of students than a sexual assault that actually happened, and will continue to happen on campuses all across America.

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