September 27, 2020

By MATT HOWELL

We are sure everyone has heard the slogans “no means no” and “consent is sexy.” However, despite the campaigns and discussion about rape, little is being done to actually end it.
The CBC is working with some experts to try and gather data and statistics on sexual assaults on post-secondary school campuses. Apparently there are no solid stats. Over the span of six months, the CBC contacted 87 university and colleges across Canada to request the number of sexual assaults that have been reported. The survey revealed there were more than 700 sexual assaults over five years.
The concept seems incredibly simple; never force yourself onto anyone. Excuses for this heinous act are plentiful. “I was drunk” or “she wouldn’t have dressed that way if she didn’t want to,” are a couple of the twisted forms of logic that have been expressed. First off, no one “asks” for it. Secondly, if being hammered makes you want to perform an act that will forever negatively alter the life of someone, you need to quit drinking.
Unfortunately, a lot of victims stay quiet for varying reasons that can only fully be understood by those who have experienced such atrocities. We have to be honest as a society and say that we don’t deal well with this. We place blame where it doesn’t belong, which discourages victims from coming forward. It’s a vicious cycle.
Colleges and universities have, at times,been hubs of sexual assault activity. There are lots of students, lots of partying and a lot of flirting, but these elements aren’t the cause of sexual assault; being a disrespectful, pitiful and grotesque human being is. The fact that these crimes are still happening, and in abundance (472,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2009 in Canada), should make us sick. Instead we point fingers and blame instead of offering solutions.
What we need to do is teach our children to love and respect those next to them. We also need victims to know we will listen and sympathize with them, when they are ready to talk about it. They should fear no judgment, retaliation or opinion. Though rape has been called an unspeakable act, we need to change that mentality. We need to speak about it, and do something about it. Only then will victims know that we care, and that we want to help.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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