Sexual Assault on Campus

What is justice if there is no anger?

Today, I am angry.

I’m angry because I keep hearing stories from my best friends of their experiences with men on their college campuses. Next week, my beautiful friends are headed back to college to learn more about their trade, study and pursue their careers. Yet, while walking to class or heading home from a long night of studying, they have to be in fear of the sick twisted college boys who surround the campus looking for their next target. They cannot put their drinks down at a party or even go to the bathroom without a friend. There is no “walking to your car alone.”

This needs to change.

1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted on a college campus.

It starts with consent. I guess a lot of boys don’t understand the concept of consent. To me, it’s very easy to understand because I have always been taught that

no means no.

but What is Consent?

“Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in an activity. There are many ways to give consent. Consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries.” If you’re struggling with the concept of consent, here’s a little video that explains it quite simply.

But rape isn’t just about sex, it’s about power.

It’s about the fact that some men think that they are entitled to our bodies. They think that they’re God’s gift to this world and that if she’s wearing a short skirt then she’s, “asking for it.”

Growing up in a college town, I’m used to comforting my friends while they share their stories of abuse. I’m used to seeing fear in their eyes when we go out in public praying that they don’t see the man who took everything from them. How heartbreaking is that? It has become the social norm. I actually am more surprised when I hear a friend of mine say that she has never been sexually abused in her life than when someone comes to me with their story sexual assault. What’s worse is that college campuses seem to care more about protecting the reputation of the school instead of being a safe place for girls to get an education. On top of that, the system is rigged to make women feel as though they are to blame. Almost every single woman if not all of them has been asked the questions: what were you wearing, were you drinking, did you say the words no. 99% of perpetrators walk free without any repercussions. Think about the Brock Turner case. If you’re unfamiliar with the case, Brock Turner was a swimmer at Stanford University. He was caught by two Stanford international students in the middle of sexually assaulting a woman, Emily Doe, while she was highly intoxicated. Turner was indicted on January 28, 2015, on five charges: two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape. “Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney’s questions that would be invasive, aggressive and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers,” she wrote. “This was a game of strategy, as if I could be tricked out of my own worth.” Brock Turner received a sentence of just six months in jail. That was it. The judge didn’t want to ruin the life of such an “amazing” athlete.

but you’ll ruin his reputation.

but he’s a straight “a” student.

but he’s such an amazing athlete.

but he’s never done anything like this before.

but he’s a good guy.

No. What you should be asking is

what about her?

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What about her reputation? What about her grades? What about her future? Thirteen percent of women who are sexually assault attempt suicide. One hundred percent of women face PTSD for at least two weeks after they have been assaulted but in my experience, it lasts longer. It’s been two and a half years and I still suffer from PTSD from my assault. I couldn’t focus on school work. I couldn’t get out of bed let alone leave my house. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is the after effects of sexual assault is worse than the rape itself. Being raped comes with feeling an overwhelming amount of shame. It the thoughts people put in your head: things you could have done differently, ways you could have gotten out of it, wishing you had fought harder. And then comes survivor’s guilt. The guilt society has programmed into our heads. We can’t ruin his life even though he has caused an unimaginable amount of pain.

We tell our stories and are persecuted, called liars. But when we stay silent, we are asked why we didn’t speak up in the first place.

There’s the fear of not being believed. People like to blame whistleblowers and just blow off every woman saying that she’s probably lying. I’m not excusing women who pretend either. I think it’s horrible because when one person lies about a subject as heavy as this, it discredits every single woman who has actually been through it. It’s excruciating.

Rape is something that happened every single day. I’m tired of hearing about my friends and family being scared to walk outside the front door. THIS HAS TO STOP. But it won’t stop until something is done. We need to educate our young boys on the importance of consent. We need to make college campuses safe for young women to learn and not live in fear of going home from class alone. We need to stop asking the questions what were you wearing and replace it with are you okay. I shouldn’t be getting phone calls in the middle of the night from a friend, balling because she went to a party and now she has no idea where she is. Finally, we need to stop teaching our girls not to get raped, but instead teach our boys not to rape.