Some say a teenage mistake shouldn’t follow the offender for the rest of their life. However, when it comes to assault and rape, the victim will pay the price for the rest of her life. Many survivors of sexual assault don’t report their assault because they fear rape culture’s repercussions. Rape culture is when a society normalizes sexual assault which leads to victims don’t always report their sexual assault and therefore consequently the rapist gets away with their crimes, in order to support survivors, society needs to stop rape culture and advocate for awareness.To begin, normalizing sexual assault causes sexual assault reports to decrease.
Women are often raised that catcalling and other sexual harassment are all part of growing up because of this women don’t always report these harassments and assaults. Heather Hlavka a professor of criminology and sociology at Marquette University says, ‘girls, in particular, are really talking about objectification [and] sexual harassment as part of the fabric of their lives. It seems to be commonplace that unwanted touching and grabbing were described as typical and routine interactions with boys at school, at parties’ (Heather Hlavka para. 4). Due to this objectification, it’s evident that we need to change this rape culture and speak out about all kinds of sexual assault. Our culture has normalized sexual assault to the point where survivors believe their assaults are ordinary and thus, don’t report the assault. Additionally, this type of culture has made survivors of sexual assault believe that their attack won’t be taken seriously, so they find another way to cope with the trauma and return to their normal lives (Haley Swenson para. 7). This normalization is affecting survivors’ mental health, and women are forced to deal with their traumas alone without resolution and support, rape culture has taught them that its common to be assaulted and they shouldn’t tell anyone.
Sexual assault similarly occurs in rich and famous classes. Additionally, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, was recorded bragging about how he sexually assaults women and wasn’t met with any repercussions. Public figures use their influential positions to further spread rape culture which in turn decreases sexual assault reports. Donald Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush, ‘I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything’ (Donald Trump Ln. 12-13). Donald Trump’s words told millions of people that it’s okay to grab women ‘by the pussy’ without their consent which has a great impact due to his political and celebrity status. The casual conversation between Bush and Trump further shows the normalization of rape culture in our society and why sexual assault survivors may see it as normal to be assaulted. In a survey done by a national sexual assault hotline, out of 1000 rapes only 310 rapes will be reported. (Greman Lopez para. 8) This survey further proves that having political leaders normalizing rape and sexual assault affects the survivor’s rate to report their attack. Political leaders have a responsibility to take sexual attacks very seriously and when they themselves are the attackers should be immediately given repercussions for their crimes.
Although, on the contrary, sexual assault survivors may choose not to report their assault due to the fear of repercussions. Nevertheless, survivors have a motive not to report their assault due to the fear of the repercussions. Survivors may choose to not report their assault to ensure that they keep their jobs, lives or social status. A woman named Tra Cee shared her story that when she was 11 years old, she was raped by her foster mom’s son but kept quiet because she didn’t want to be placed in a worse foster home. Tra Cee didn’t report her assault due to the fact that if she did, she would most likely be moved to a different home away from the adoptive parent that she loved. Tra Cee chose her mother over-reporting her assault. Dr. Marley, another sexual assault survivor, also chose not to report her assault due to the fear of repercussion, “Two of his fraternity brothers showed up at my dorm room the next day and threatened to kill me if I told” (Dr. Christine Marley-Frederick).
Dr. Marley was a scared woman who feared her life would be taken if she reported her assault to the police. Dr. Marley was not only raped but also her life was threatened in less than 24 hours, while she could have reported her rape she would also be putting her life at risk. By creating awareness about sexual assault and making it abnormal again, more women will find the courage to tell their survival story.On the contrary, reports have increased dramatically after movements like the #METOO movement and the #WhyIdidn’treport. These movements help sexual assault survivors find courage and comfort with other survivors to tell their stories. Jenna Kreider a participant in the #METOO movement shared “The #MeToo campaign really helped me to vocalize that with other people who I know have also gone through the same experience which is really great” (Jenna Kreider para. 11). Mrs. Kreider shared her survival story after she learned that so many other people had experienced the same assault. This movement allowed millions of sexual assault survivors to find the confidence to report their stories.
Another proposed solution is to spread awareness, creating a mandatory assembly teaching kids and teenagers about mutual consent. In a Patriot Ledger survey, 15% of boys believe it is okay to rape a girl if she initially consented to sex (Christopher Walker para. 32). This survey confirms that teaching about consent in school should be mandatory globally and any kind of questions about consent should be at easy access.In conclusion, sexual assault has most likely affected you or someone close to you. Nobody should feel the need to go through such a traumatic experience by themselves. By supporting movements like the #METOO movement and #WhyIdidn’treport movement, readers can help survivors feel more comfortable and confident in reporting their attack.