It's On Us to Stop Sexual Assault

It’s clear that there’s an epidemic of sexual assault and harassment around the world, and this epidemic has only been worsened through the power of social media and the internet. Everyone has either been a victim, known a victim, or heard about a victim of sexual assault or harassment. For example, I think we all saw the way Ariana Grande was groped by a pastor at Aretha Franklin’s funeral...on live television. So, if you think you haven’t witnessed sexual assault at play, just search “Ariana Grande groped” and you’ll see it with your own eyes. Because this was an incident that occurred on television, one can only imagine what happens beyond TV, computer, and phone screens.

 

In college, one in five women, one in sixteen men, and one in four transgender or gender non-conforming people are sexually assaulted. Eight in ten sexual assault survivors knew their attacker/abuser. Only ten percent of sexual assault victims report their assault. For rape victims who were incapacitated, reporting drops to just two percent. The percentage is even smaller for those who are people of color and those part of the LGBTQ+ community. With these and many more statistics in mind, it is safe to say that there is a problem.

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

How can the sexual assault culture change? It can change through education and action. For example, the bystander effect is too widely practiced to be ignored. The bystander effect occurs when people see that there is some kind of wrongdoing happening, but they do nothing because they immediately expect someone else to help or step in. This effect has aided in the sexual assault epidemic tremendously. Those who are at parties and see that an incapacitated or intoxicated person is getting taken advantage of are known to do nothing because they expect someone else to help. Ariana Grande was groped in front of thousands of people in attendance for Aretha Franklin’s funeral, yet no one helped or decided to step in and tell that pastor that he was being a little too touchy with her. Just because he was a pastor or because Ariana Grande was wearing a short dress or the incident was televised, doesn’t mean that she deserved to be assaulted, and she deserved help when it was happening.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

"It’s On Us" is a nationwide organization founded by the Obama administration dedicated to preventing sexual assault with an emphasis on LGBTQ+, racial, gender, economic, and religious inclusivity. This semester at Cal Lutheran, I am starting an "It’s On Us" club on campus. This will give students the opportunity to educate others on how to prevent sexual assault and what to do in situations where sexual assault is involved. Sexual assault intervention can happen in all kinds of ways, not just outright confronting the assaulter, which may lead to a potentially more dangerous situation. Subtle actions can be taken to decrease the occurrences of sexual assault and harassment. It’s also important to emphasize that sexual safety is deserved for everyone, so "It’s On Us" is based on inclusivity.

 

Whether you decide to become a member of "It’s On Us" or not, it’s important that we all make conscious decisions to help everyone feel safe and comfortable in their environments. It’s our responsibility to educate everyone on sexual assault and how to prevent it. "It’s On Us" to make the world a safer, better place to live in.