Checking Up – Sexual assault victim blaming needs to stop

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

Women are taught by society how to avoid being sexually assaulted. They are told their skirt hems should be an “appropriate” length. They are told they need to watch the situations they put themselves in. They are taught if someone touches them in a manner that makes them uncomfortable, they are overreacting. This is wrong. Instead of teaching women how to avoid being raped and sexually assaulted, why not simplify the issue by teaching people not to rape?

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in six women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. In the year 2003, nine out of 10 rape victims were women. These statistics are staggering. They show that, although men are also victims of rape, women encompass the majority of those statistics.

 Promoting and teaching ways to simply “not rape” can be a hard task due to the society we live in. There are things that people can do in general to ensure they are not perpetrating sexual assault, even if they do it unknowingly. For example, make sure consent is clear. If you do not receive a verbal, sober, “yes,” then you did not receive consent. 

Keep in mind that consent is not a one-time thing. You should be receiving consent each time you engage in any sexual contact. If you doubt for even one second that the behavior you are exhibiting is unwanted, that would be an appropriate time to back off and not engage in that behavior again.

Although consent can prevent you from being a perpetrator, there are other ways to prevent harassment or unwanted sexual contact. By simply educating yourself on what sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault are, you can be sure to steer clear from participating in any behavior that has the potential to make you the guilty party.

Ultimately, we are in charge of ourselves; we all make our own decision. Although the student-body needs to be informed about ways to make smart decisions that will help them avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault, we also need to teach students not to perpetrate sexual assault. The sad truth is, until people make the decision not to rape, we have no choice but to teach ways to avoid it.