We need to create a safe culture, stop blaming the victims

September 19, 2016

Scribe Staff

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UCCS hosts self-defense classes throughout the school year and forums that hope to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence in our society.

We should be aware that the men and women we love and care about can become a victim of these heinous, horrific acts. And Colorado is no exception to this idea.

In Colorado, one in four women will experience sexual assault, while one in 17 men will be affected, according to Moving to End Sexual Assault. Male college-aged students (18-24) are also 78 percent more likely to become a victim of sexual assault.

In August, rapist and former CU Boulder student, Austin Wilkerson was sentenced to two years in jail and 20 years on life probation. In the two years sentenced, Wilkerson can leave jail for work or school during the day.

On Sept. 2, CNN released a report that rapist Brock Turner, former Stanford University student was released from jail after three months.

The real victims of these cases, whose bravery and courage to stand up to their assailant were not met with praise.

Instead, people flocked to support Turner and Wilkerson. Turner’s father, Dan Turner, defended the rapist and said that his life will never be the same after “20 minutes of action.”

If someone is unable to defend themselves in a robbery, does that make it OK to steal? Many situations have been compared to consent to try and make us understand that the correlation of going to a party, drinking or wearing certain clothing is not rape or assault.

When a person is unconscious or intoxicated, it is not the equivalent to consent.

Why does our society question the victims of these crimes and not the perpetrators?

The stigmas we have attached to men and women make it difficult for these discussions to happen.

If a woman is interested in sex, she’s a slut, but if she’s not interested in whoever is pursuing her, she’s cold and mean. In contrast, if a man is assaulted by a woman, he’s thought of as weak.

Rape culture has become a social norm.

College students, male or female, should not have to be afraid to walk around their own campus. They shouldn’t have to carry pepper spray on their keychains, and organizations should not have to hand out rape whistles during the first week of classes.

The longer we turn the other cheek and avoid the exponentially growing problem, the more serious the problem becomes.

We can’t disregard the perspective of the victims. We must be more sympathetic to what they are saying and stop giving rapists a way out.

Make them take responsibility for their actions so that we can stop this string of violence.