Being a woman in this society comes with many types of baggage.
“Does this outfit make me look weird?”
“Will people judge me if I say this out-loud?”
“Does it look like I’m asking for it?”
“How many times do I have to say ‘no’ before someone gets the hint?”
Women are constantly watching what they say. Especially women between the ages of 18 to 24, which is prime college age, are “at an elevated risk of sexual violence,” according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) website.
At this age, there are so many scenarios in which females either feels objectified or incredibly uneasy in their environment.
Being catcalled while walking to your car after work.
Being hit on continuously by a male in the parking lot, who only gets egged on more after learning about your relationship.
Being watched from a distance while you sit alone on campus writing an article.
For some reason, people seem unable to grasp the meaning of consent. To put it into words, Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes consent as “to give permission for something to happen or be done.” In simple terms, telling someone “yes” in regards to a question or proposition.
There are multiple factors that come with consent as well, which everyone should keep in mind, especially when they’re intimately involved with someone.
If someone does say “yes,” they also have the right to change their mind at a later date. “Yes” does not give eternal permission. It gives permission for that one single point in time.
If someone is underage, incapacitated or any level of unconscious or intoxicated, they are not at a capacity to give consent. It is still shocking that so many people are unable to grasp these seemingly simple concepts.
It is important to highlight that men can be victimized just as much as women.
Males are not excluded from the population of people that get assaulted in some way. 1in6, an organization that specializes in spreading awareness of male sexual assault, has a lot of useful information.
Many myths come with the topic of men being assaulted or abused. One myth that 1in6 emphasizes is that “a boy or man who has been sexually used or abused will never be a ‘real man.’” This assumption is not only wrong but it is incredibly degrading.
Another myth is that abuse is less harmful to males than females. 1in6 states that after a study was conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, “the abuse of boys was more likely to involve penetration of some kind, which is associated with greater psychological harm.”
Odds are, most people have heard about the Stanford case, where male student Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at a frat party. What was shocking to many was how short of a sentence he received, which was 6 months, and how he ended up only serving three months in jail, according to CNN.
The letter that Turner’s victim wrote and read aloud to Turner and the court was incredibly eye opening. She wrote more than 7,000 words, describing in detail the events that she went through, starting that night at the frat party, to the assault, the next day in the hospital and following every step of the case she had gone through the past year.
If this case should teach people anything, it is that not everyone will get what they deserve in the end, even if they deserve far more than they received. It is that the psychological effects of assault sometimes outlast the physical effects immensely.
It should also teach people that there are steps they can take to help spread awareness of these horrid events happening, including college campuses.
RAINN states multiple safety measures one can take to help students stay safe on campus. Their tips include being careful about posting your location online, staying alert and always thinking about having a plan B. Sometimes things do not go according to plan, so it would be beneficial to think ahead.
It would also be smart to take advantage of the safety features offered at the school. Many universities provide services to help get students to and from locations safely.
No matter if something seems harmless or not, it never hurts to be cautious. One can only hope that in due time more people will take the steps to spread awareness of these assaults happening on college campuses.