Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology

Opinion: Women shouldn’t have to fear sexual assault

Over the past few months I have realized that a simple task of walking to your car or even going outside to get your mail is very dangerous especially in a woman’s position. Being on social media and receiving unwanted pictures and getting begged to send pictures back when it makes the majority of girls uncomfortable.

There are so many precautions women or anybody for that matter need to take in order to stay safe, even online. “Stay alert, check your surroundings, cover up” is something I hear more than often. 

Sexual assault is something that happens far too frequently. It can happen to just about anybody regardless of where you are, your gender, your race, your sexuality, etc. This happens to women more often than men, they are usually more vulnerable and at risk in these types of situations, it happens four times more to females than males.

Women change their lifestyles because they are afraid of what might happen, it’s sad we even have to rethink everything we do so that we don’t get assaulted and objectified, we are most certainly not objects. We avoid going on public transportation, passing through an alley, going through dark dimmed streets and alleys to avoid getting harassed.

People telling us to change our clothes because we’re showing “too much” skin so men don’t get ideas, rushing to the car and immediately locking the doors afraid of someone being underneath ready to slash your ankles or walking back home terrified that someone might take you. Millions of women choose to drive rather than walk, women live in a society where they are anxious and frightened of every single thing around them because of predators.

As a 17-year-old girl, I am afraid of going out alone or even passing by a man in general. Although it might not be every single man but a very big majority of them, it’s all women.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 81% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment and/or assault. This is such a big number and it should not be normalized at all in any way. Far too many women experience the traumas of rape, violence, assault, harassment, being stalked, objectified and being touched without consent.

Regardless if they are your significant other or partner, consent is one of the most important things. No means no and it will always mean no. There are boundaries in a relationship and consent is one of them, you have to respect each other’s decisions in every situation.

Most victims of sexual assault know their attacker, according to the National Institute of Justice.

There are ways that survivors cope with what happened to them, like talking to someone who may understand what they are going through. If you don’t have someone to talk to you can always call the Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673), they are always there to help.

Start a movement, speak out and use your voice against those who hurt you, many stay silent because they are afraid of their attacker/s. There was a movement called the #MeToo Movement, that allowed those who were sexually assaulted to break their silence, to empower women.

Even though we can not fully stop sexual assault, we can try to prevent some situations from happening. Instead of telling girls on what to do, we need to educate and inform boys on what not to do. Always leave your house with someone, if there’s no one you can ask then let someone know you’re going out and turn your location on. It’s better to stay safe.

Sexual assault is something that should not be happening often but it does. This is a very serious topic and an issue that should not be taken lightly. It is never the victim’s fault and it shouldn’t define them and who they are. This issue happens to women all over the world and only a few decide to speak up and break their silence.