Sexual assault cannot be ignored

Lizzy Snow, Staff Writer

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Smoke Signal staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

When I was ten, I was assaulted by a classmate. Being ten, I had no concept of what sexual assault was. I only knew something wrong and uncomfortable had happened between us, so I told my parents, who in return told my teacher. My teacher’s reply was that I was “crying for attention” and lying about the incident. At the time, I thought I was alone. There were always “important” talks about bullying and name calling, but never anything on what do when a boy touched you where he shouldn’t. For years I stayed quiet, believing my experience was normal and of little importance in the whole scheme of things. There were moments where I questioned if the incident even happened, but then I would remember those frozen seconds of terror. When I was ten, I was assaulted by a classmate. Being ten, I had no concept of what sexual assault was. I only knew something wrong and uncomfortable had happened between us, so I told my parents, who in return told my teacher. My teacher’s reply was that I was “crying for attention” and lying about the incident. At the time, I thought I was alone. There were always “important” talks about bullying and name calling, but never anything on what do when a boy touched you where he shouldn’t. For years I stayed quiet, believing my experience was normal and of little importance in the whole scheme of things. There were moments where I questioned if the incident even happened, but then I would remember those frozen seconds of terror.

Despite your political and personal beliefs and regardless of whether or not you are a feminist, sexual assaults need to be viewed as serious issues in society that demand correction. Often these issues are seen as “normal.” A close friend recently said he felt the problem with modern feminism was “how feminists say rape culture exists and sexual assault is blown out of proportion.” To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was more or less dumbstruck. Rape culture, the normalization of sexual violence against women (often portrayed in entertainment and pop culture) is real; it is a harrowing fact. Sexual assault is when an act of sexual violence or physical advancement is made towards someone without their consent. It exists. Almost every woman in America can attest to that. According to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. alone. Men can attest to this as well. Sexual assault can happen to anybody. Men can be assaulted and exploited by woman and vice versa. Nearly 3-million men have been the victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Sexual harassment and assault is prevalent everywhere, especially in American society.

The many scandals currently emerging in Hollywood are evidence of this. Over a dozen men have been accused of sexual misconduct and/or rape. Prior to this, in Hollywood, assault was a normal occurrence that “everybody” knew about.After multiple accusations of misconduct were made towards film director Harvey Weinstein, allegations about sexual assault and rape poured out from the formerly “don’t ask, don’t tell” industry. From this, a necessary movement was reborn. The #MeToo movement is around a decade old. It was a phrase used for a grassroots movement created by activist Tarana Burke. Recently, the movement has gained popularity in social media as a tool of empowerment for victims of assault and rape.Despite what society would like to believe, these issues are common. However, they never have and never will be normal.

 

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Sexual assault cannot be ignored