Misconceptions, apathy, bad attitudes, and fear surround the issue of rape on campus.
By Eleanor Nagle, Staff Writer
We have all heard it before. The statistics that do not actually mean anything to us, the over dramatized ads, and so many other things warning us about sexual assault. It is a scary thing to hear about and so we brush it off. If we don’t think about it, it is not real.
The problem is that sexual assault is real. It is actually happening all around us to the women and sometimes even men that we know, but it remains the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about it. Sure, there are ads and other things that are supposed to raise awareness but students have become so desensitized to them that they do not do as much good as they should.
If we are going to fix the way women and men see rape and stop the indifference to it, we first have to change the ideas we have in our heads about the victims of sexual assault. As senior Eric Danforth said, “A lot of people think it’s just women who party that get raped.”
It is because of that common viewpoint that people are able to let themselves blame the victim of sexual assault instead of the perpetrator. It is easy to write off the victim by saying that she should have known better than to drink so much or to wear a skirt that short, because if she dresses provocatively and gets intoxicated it is on par with asking to be raped. Does that seem ridiculous to you? Yea? Me too.
As ridiculous as that viewpoint may be, it is still not unusual to hear girls around campus nonchalantly brush off a story of an assault by saying the victim was asking for it by how she looked and acted, but as sophomore Sarah Ballew says, “No one ever deserves to get raped. They weren’t asking for it. It’s not some sort of divine punishment.”
It’s not just intoxicated women who party and dress provocatively who get assaulted; it could happen to anyone. It’s easy to pass blame on to the victim because it makes it easier to justify something that really can never be justified. If there’s a reason for it, there’s no need to worry about it or think about. If your not one of those girls, it will not affect you. “[Students] probably don’t think about it because they don’t think it will happen to them,” said Ballew.
That train of thought is exactly what is causing a new found and devastating indifference our campus seems to have towards sexual assault. This campus needs to wake up and look around. It’s time to care.
Since the beginning of the school year there has been only one reported case of rape. The sad thing is that there are probably countless other cases that have gone unreported because of embarrassment, fear, or confusion.
If you have been raped or know someone who has, please come forward. Even if you don’t want to press charges, get counseling and see a doctor. And finally to those of you, men and women, who have committed a crime as heinous as sexual assault, I urge you to come forward. Even if not to confess to the crime officially, at least to get help. Not just for yourself, but for the good of those around you. Do the right thing.
If you have been a victim and decide to come forward you can contact Megan Hearron at counseling services for help as well as the police and a variety of other organizations, such as the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, designed to help victims and family and friends of victims of sexual assault.