Speaking Up About Sexual Assault

Everybody has a voice, but there is one thing that keeps people from speaking up: sexual assault. Sexual assault is any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the recipient. This can range from forced sexual intercourse, known as rape, to child molestation to sexual harassments. Sexual assault is a major problem for everybody. According to National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Women have a higher percent rate of being sexually assaulted at one in five women while men are at the rate of one in sixteen men.”

Sexual assault leaves the victim with psychological, physical, and mental scars. On average, four out of five sexually assaulted victims suffer chronic physical or psychological conditions. The victims believe that it is his/her fault that it happened, they may think it is embarrassing that it happened to him/her, or they may be scared that it could happen again. Due to these issues, many sexual assault cases happen in silence. 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

When someone is sexually assaulted, it makes the victim feel alone, embarrassed, and scared. The victim begins to think that he/she must have deserved it or he/she did something to provoke it. Because of this, it may take the victim years to come out and say what happened. Some victims go their lives without saying anything because they are afraid of what will happen next and they feel shame at the thought of what happened to them. Sexual assault stifles people’s voice because of the fear and damage it causes. One thing needs to be clear: it is never the victims fault. The victim did not provoke, want, or need to be sexually assaulted.

Victims of sexual assault are also made to feel less of a person. They are reduced to feeling like an object rather than a human being. As humans, we deserve respect and expect others to show respect. Being sexually assaulted takes away any respect and dignity that a person deserves. This may cause the victim to feel that no one would believe them if they did tell someone. They may isolate themselves due to this feeling. This makes the victim feel even more alone, which can lead to suicide. According to Kevin Caruso on suicide.org, “Sexually assaulted victims are thirteen times more likely to commit suicide.”

Infographics by
Kirsten Bilger

There are no circumstances that makes sexual assault appropiate. No one is better than another. Whether someone is rich or poor, that does not give permission to sexually assault someone. No one deserves the abuse and trauma that comes from sexual assault. Any victim of sexual assault needs to know that it was not his/her fault, that he/she did nothing to deserve being sexually assaulted.

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