There have been many different studies on the subject of sexual violence, but there never seems to be a clear number of how many people have been sexually assaulted. We know that the vast majority of victims are women. We know that young women from the ages of 16 to 19 are the most at-risk. We know that most women do not report sexual assault to authorities.
Some studies suggest that it happens to only 1 in 20, but others say 1 in 3. When I talk to people, or think about my circle of friends, the 1 in 3 statistic has proven true. A woman may not label it with the ugly word “rape,” but when it comes down to it, that’s exactly what it is. No one wants to label themselves as a victim, so most people will not label their experiences in this way.
Last term, in my Women’s and Gender’s Studies course, I heard a comparison about abuse victims and alcoholics. It went something like this… When a person who is struggling with alcohol abuse is asked, “Are you an alcoholic?” they will say “no.” However, they will answer “yes” to questions like: Do you have drinks before noon? Or, has your drinking affected your personal or professional life? Or, do you drink alone? The same is true of victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. They won’t admit to being “raped,” or being “the rapist,” unless questions that omit these words are asked. The Meet the Predators post on a blog called Yes Means Yes! expands on the issue of “the r word.”
Yesterday I ended with noting that this wasn’t a happy topic, but I do think it’s important to learn and talk about. Anyone who has a mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or friend should be concerned. No one wants this to happen to them, and it really does affect everyone. So, the reason I think it’s important to talk about is because survivors of sexual violence, assault and abuse should not have to fight this battle on their own. It’s not just a battle for the survivors. This is everyone’s battle and if you don’t stand up to violence today, it will be worse tomorrow.
There’s a great organization called Men Can Stop Rape that focuses on not leaving it up to the survivors to fight this battle. Also, check out this article about Joe Biden’s speaking out against sexual violence on college campuses!
I’m not extremely pleased with my photo today, but I think it gets the point across. If you have photo ideas, personal stories, art related to the topic, or basically anything at all, please send me an email! I’d love to get in touch and feature your work here!
IMPORTANT! Today is Mindy’s last day of her project365. Go see the last of this fantastic series!!!!!