While considering writing about a topic that hits so close to home for me and some of my friends, I thought about an impactful moment I had with some girls in my class.
One day I was having margaritas with them, and we were just having normal girl-talk about boys until the conversation took a turn. Each girl, myself included, had a story where we had experienced some kind of unwanted sexual encounter. As we sat around the table and listened to each other’s stories, we cried and comforted one another. After that emotional conversation, I was really in shock that every single one of us had been a victim, and not one of us reported our incidents.
My thought process as to why I didn’t report it was I didn’t want to ruin the guy’s life or go through all the legal trouble. Why should I have to feel guilty about ruining this disgusting guy’s life when I was the victim? The thing I struggle with the most is guilt because I always replay the moment in my head and think, “Oh, did I do something that made him think I wanted that to happen?” “Was it my fault for making him think that was okay?” I have to remind myself that my actions are not an excuse for what he did to me. No means no, and if a guy cannot understand a simple command then he is the issue.
The United States Department of Justice featured a horrifying fact on its website: one out of every four female college students will be a victim to some sort of sexual assault before graduation. When most people think of sexual assault, they think rape, but sexual assault can range from a guy touching a girl’s butt to a guy drugging a girl’s drink and raping her. The more society chooses to be silent about it, the more sexual assault will happen. It’s an important subject to address because females need guidance on what to do in these uncomfortable situations.
I believe college campuses should do more to protect their students from things like sexual assault from happening. SFA has taken some steps to help females get more educated on what to do when put into uncomfortable situations. UPD offers a program called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense Systems), which is a training program that teaches females only on realistic self- defense skills. The course is free and available for women 13 and older. For more information, visit SFA’s Department of Public safety website. I have taken this course, and I feel like I have a better understanding of what to do when I get put in a difficult situation.
If you can take anything from this, I hope it’s the realization to speak up and stand up for yourself. It’s 2019, and its time to leave sexual assault in the past.