Sexual Assault: Don’t Blame the Victim

Sexual Assault, or Rape, is a problem all over the world and the victims of this kind of crime are usually females, but there is a very controversial problem that has people condemning women for wearing revealing clothing that are said to entice sexual predators. Others say that women should be able to wear anything that makes them comfortable.

Women demanding respect is not really going to stop sexual assault. The only way to prevent this is to always keep your personal safety in mind and to know where to dress a certain way and where to avoid dressing up with clothes that can be removed easily or that may entice rape or sexual assault. We’re blaming the victim here, but we are saying “use your head” with regard to your environment and the people that may be around you.

Signs of Distress

Sexual assault can occur in many places, especially on college campuses and places frequented by students. Considering the fact that 7 of 10 cases of sexual assault involve the perpetrator being someone the victim knows, it makes it difficult for victims to come forward. It can be hard for someone to open up about their experience if the person is a part of a friend group, a classmate, a family member or a familiar associate. There are many reasons why a victim may choose not to report sexual assault to law enforcement or to tell anyone else. Such reasons include desire to protect the attacker, distrust of law enforcement and concern about not being believed. Theres also a chance of being treated differently (for better or worse) within their community.

Signs of distress shown by sexual assault victims may include:

  • Avoiding specific places or situations
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harming behaviors or suicidal tendencies
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Falling grades or withdrawing from classes

If you notice these warning signs in someone, it’s worth reaching out to them.

Situational/Preventative Tips

The aim of prevention is to stop sexual assault before it has a chance to happen. It is possible to create communities and environments where everyone is treated with respect and equality. This is done through promoting safe behaviors, healthy relationships and thoughtful policies. Prevention is everyone’s responsibility. As individuals, we all play a role in fostering a safe environment.

  • Be independent and aware
  • Always keep your cell phone charged and on your person
  • When on a date or dealing with someone, set clear limits and be firm. Do not give mixed messages. “Yes” means yes and “no” means no. Be sure that your words do not conflict other signals such as eye contact or gestures
  • Don’t share drinks and don’t accept a drink from someone unless you watch the bartender pour it
  • Make sure you have arranged a ride home or plan to walk home with a friend or roommate
  • Avoid secluded places where you could be vulnerable

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