Furthering the fight on sexual assault

Photo+by+Chloe+Anderson

Photo by Chloe Anderson

North Wind Staff

It’s easy to become numb to the constant stream of sexual assaults reported by the news. This is the unfortunate paradox of constant awareness—emergence of indifference.

Meanwhile, one in five women will be sexually assaulted while at college, according to the White House Counsel Sexual Assault report. Moreover, 90 percent of all victims on college campuses won’t report their assault to police.

In the face of statistics like these, nobody can make a serious claim that enough is being done. While it’s inspiring to see university sponsored initiatives to increase awareness about sexual assault, such as NMU’s “It’s On Us,” the voices behind them are limited to students. With something as prevalent as sexual assault, combating it requires an alliance of everybody with an interest in decency and humanity. All university community members need to speak out against sexual assault.

Because of the culture of complicity we currently live in, many victims choose not to step forward to press charges against their accusers out of fear they will be trivialized, or worse, called a liar. This is especially true if that perpetrator is in a position of power. Only strength in numbers can alter the wave of silence and intimidation that falls over victims. As we’ve seen with the #MeToo movement, the power of predators can be usurped when voices of many join together in
condemnation.

Winning the war against sexual assault most importantly requires that we give a voice to victims. Speaking up comes at a great cost, but will help others in the present and future to do the same. This begins with ensuring victims that they are not alone, and resources exist for their benefit.

University counseling services can help people work through traumatic experiences, and are available in Hedgcock room 3405. Additionally, the sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673 allows people to tell others what happened to them without it being mandatorily reported. However, the most important resource we have is our friends and family.

Unconditional love and support have one source, and that is those close to us. We must always remember that positive change relies on us acting as that support.