Often in the news, we hear about all the negative things that are going on. When discussing a topic like sexual assault, you can’t help but come across a lot of very bad stories about some really horrible crimes. That is why I would like to focus on some positive things that are happening around the world to show you that while sexual assault is still happening, people are making strides against it.
This first story comes out of India. India has been in the news lately for some horrific sexual crimes against women. However, the country as a whole is beginning to take a stand against this reputation. One of the most vile practices was the ability of a rapist to call for mediation from the courts in which the courts would ask the rapist and the victim to sit down and work out a solution. Typically, the solution would be for the rapist to marry the victim which would keep her integrity intact and the rapist would not have to have a criminal record. Recently, the Supreme Court in India ruled that this mediation is harmful to women and courts should not practice it. You can read the entire story here. This is some amazing news for victims!
In the United States, sexual consent is being fought over right now. The issue of consent has become a very polarizing issue. Some argue that consent can be implied by the way someone acts, what they are wearing or even when they are drunk! This has caused some to doubt survivors and their stories, but the entire attitude towards consent is changing. Men and women are taking a stand and saying “enough is enough”. Here is a great article on a set of comics regarding consent that has taken off like wildfire on social media. These comics explain consent in terms that everyone can understand and help shed light on those who say that once consent is given, it can’t be taken away and other misconceptions.
A couple of weeks ago, a report on sexual assault came out and the numbers were staggering. According to the report, 1 in 5 women will face sexual harassment or be sexually assaulted in college. While this number seems dire, there are also amazing stories about students and colleges taking a stand against sexual assault. One class at CMU came up with an amazing game that teaches students to recognize sexual assault and become bystanders who intervene when things do not look right. You can read about the game here. Feel free to try it and share your results with us!
As you can see, there is a lot of POSITIVE change happening relating to consent, respect and bystander intervention. Teens and young adults are taking a stand to stop the violence and change the culture. Some politicians are recognizing that this is a major issue and trying to stop it at a legislative level and entire cultures are standing up and saying “enough is enough.”