Don’t turn a blind eye to sexual assualt

According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.

On average, there are 321,500 victims of sexual assault each year in the United States. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. It’s distressful to see these numbers and taking on a silent stance on the issue will only increase these numbers.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines rape as any unlawful sexual intercourse of any kind by force or threat. Quite often hostility and violence coincide with rape.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or background, though statistics show women and children are more frequently victimized. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports 34 percent of people who commit sexual offenses are related to their victims. A more shocking statistic is nearly one in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Sexual assault is a very dreadful experience that leaves most victims lamenting in a swirl of emotions. Lack of trust, nervousness, confusion, loneliness, sadness and even anger are just a few. Because of all these emotions, it may seem as an easier option for a victim to downplay what happened or even to keep it a secret. But when one remains and keeps silent, then they spurn away the much needed help or counseling.

On Friday, a Baylor University graduate filed a federal lawsuit against her former school.The female plaintiff identified as Elizabeth Doe alleges that she was gang raped by former Baylor Football players in April of 2013 after a party. Doe is suing the university over Title IX violations and negligence. After four years of silence, Doe spoke up, and because she did, the institution is taking remarkable actions against the vice. In a press statement, Baylor University president David E. Garland said, “We have made great progress in implementing 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of all students and restore faith in the University.”

Despite the institution being the nation’s largest Baptist University, it has been embroiled in a stringent of similar allegations before.

Some victims take years to acknowledge they have been victims and find it difficult to take necessary steps to get help. Perhaps the lack of courage to speak up in fear of being stigmatized by friends, family or society is a contributing factor. Other victims blame themselves for their demise, citing carelessness and alcohol as factors caused the sexual assault. Speaking up against rape can be challenging and usually requires one to have courage to tell even the closest of friends about it.

However, with institutions such as RAINN which operate online, one can get help at any time with an option to live chat with a healthcare professional who is trained in dealing with sexual assault victims. With technology, one can speak up against rape and get some form of help without the fear of being singled out by friends, family or even society. Other organizations like ASK DC also provide similar services with additional information on their website on how to obtain legal and criminal justice information. These online help desks are a solution to those of us that feel the need for individual counseling.It’s easier in today’s world than ever before to speak up against rape and may be eventually get to help others who may need advise or help in return.

Sexual assault survivors should be able to receive all the support they need so as to be able to integrate back to society. The government should put programs in learning institutions and community initiatives to bring more awareness to the public in general about sexual assault. Not speaking up against rape in this day and age is not a viable option.