Discussing “It” Openly

by Bethany Davenport
Columnist

You know “it” happens. You hear rumors about “it.” You rarely, if ever, see “it” but “it” does happen. “It” was recently discussed in an assembly for the Transylvania community. “It” is sexual assault and rape.

The presenters, Kelly Addington and Becca Tieder, shared their personal stories dealing with rape. I would like to touch on what I feel was the most important part of their talk: empowerment.

The problem with society not talking about rape is that the silence makes it seem like it is not a problem. According to http://pavingtheway.net, a site promoting awareness and victim empowerment, “only 5 percent of undergraduate women reported their sexual assault to police.” The fact of the matter is that rape does happen. Sexual assault does happen. Not talking about sexual assault does not make it go away. And silencing those affected makes it worse.

The way in which to empower rape victims is to make the subject of rape not so taboo. Those affected need to feel like there is support from our society. Addington talked about the fact that she was ashamed of being a victim of rape. It is the typical stereotype that rape victims are in some way at fault. When Addington finally opened up, she found support from other victims like herself. She cited that every two minutes in the U.S. someone is sexually assaulted. These results are rarely reported because of victims’ fear of their perpetrator and the way in which they will be viewed.

I feel rape is so hushed in society because it involves sex. Talking about sex in any way is often prohibited. You are not supposed to talk about sex, especially about nonconsensual sex. Society should accept the fact that sex happens and should not judge those who are sexually active.

An obvious way in which sex is silenced in society can be seen in how most states mandate sex education to be taught abstinence-only. Although abstinence is the only 100 percent way not to contract sexually transmitted infections or have an unwanted pregnancy, these abstinence-only programs often distort the truth to scare young adults into not having sex. These programs do not equip these young adults with education about protection and contraception.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives committee on government reform, numerous misrepresentations were found in abstinence-only sex education programs including that HIV can be spread via sweat and tears, that condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse and that women who have an abortion “are more prone to suicide.”

One of the best ways to empower rape victims is to start with the ways in which society views sex as a whole. From there, stereotypes and views of rape victims can fade away and hopefully more than 5 percent of college rape victims will report the crime. And by more crimes being reported the problem can be counteracted.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or rape, talk to someone about it. Transy has a great resource in the counseling center. You can schedule an appointment by emailing counseling@transy.edu or by calling the counseling center at 859-281-3682. You can also contact the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center at 1-800-656-4673.

If you have any questions or need some advice contact me at bbdavenport13@transy.edu or send me a message through campus mail.

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