By: Moriah Van Order | Guest Writer
Rape is the topic nobody enjoys talking about. The whole concept of rape makes people uncomfortable.
Rape is a topic that needs to be discussed because it could happen to you, your best friend, your roommate or significant other. We need to talk about it because rapists are getting three months of jail time or probation, as long as they promise to stay celibate. Because I have run into girls crying outside of parties due to running into someone who only looked like the person who assaulted them. I have heard boys question whether what they experienced was rape or not, simply because they are males, and men “do not get raped” in society’s eyes.
I have heard people shamed because of the way they were dressed before their sexual assault. I know victims who were asked if they had led the person on and questioned if they were drunk or sober when it happened. These factors do not matter or constitute the victim being assaulted. What matters is the fact that someone took something from another person, someone violated their entire being, and someone took their safety.
I know you get it. Rape is bad. So, shut it down. Shut down the rape jokes and speak up if one of your friends makes one. Hold each other accountable and look out for people. If you see someone trying to get the already drunk freshman even more drunk in order to take them home, call them out. That’s predatory behavior. If you see someone pushing another person away or if they just look really uncomfortable and the person won’t leave them alone, ask if they’re okay.
Discuss healthy boundaries with your partner(s). Be educated on the topic and understand the long lasting effects that sexual assault has on a person. Be patient and empathetic, if someone is not your “ideal” victim or they are not coping the way that you think they should, that does not make their experiences any less valid.
If someone discloses to you that they have been sexually assaulted, be mindful of the self-doubt, self-blame and stigmatization they are feeling. They trust you with this information. Tell them you are there for them, you are glad they felt safe enough to trust you and most importantly, tell them they are not alone.
Some confidential resources you can suggest are the Counseling and Birkam Health Center or WISE. Some reporting resources are Ferris Department of Public Safety, Title IX, Student Code of Conduct, Residence Hall Staff and Professors.