North Texas Daily

Sexual predators are finally facing the consequences on a national level — but there’s still work to do

Sexual predators are finally facing the consequences on a national level — but there’s still work to do

November 03
12:03 2017

For what seems like the first time in recent memory, we are finally starting to see people be held accountable for sexually assaulting others.

And not just anyone — wealthy, famous and influential people. People that are on such a national platform others are finally able to see them face their consequences of such grotesque actions. People are — rightfully so — losing their jobs and respect as a result of these actions.  

The message being sent is hopefully loud enough and clear enough that when you physically violate someone at work, school or even at home, you can and will feel the repercussions. 

Combating the rape culture in this country seemed to be a discouraging effort after high profile cases of convicted rapists (see: Brock Turner) were being settled with slaps on the wrist or no conviction at all.

While no one should be expected to open up about such a traumatic experience, all it takes is one person to speak out against perpetrators of sexual assault — man, woman, celebrity, transgender or even non-binary victims.

It can happen to anyone.

After a number of people began speaking out about alleged sexual assault by one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, Harvey Weinstein, the whistle blowing seems to have been nonstop. Even the current President of our country has been accused of sexual misconduct. Since then, it seems that one by one, several people have been accused and exposed for their sexual misconduct.

Andy Signore. Ben Affleck. Bob Weinstein. James Toback. George H.W. Bush. Dustin Hoffman. Kevin Spacey. Brett Ratner. Michael Oreskes — just to name a few.

Unfortunately, this cultural dynamic of sexual predators feeling comfortable enough to commit such crimes without any consequence is certainly not exclusive to Hollywood. Many have turned a blind eye and, in turn, allowed this to manifest across the country in all types of environments and industries. In fact, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports rates of sexual violence are higher than any other crime on college campuses, and UNT is no exception.

Earlier this year, UNT’s annual security report showed that reported cases of rape nearly doubled between 2015-2016.

Optimistically, we can only hope this is due to more victims finding themselves surrounded by support or in a safe enough environment to feel comfortable enough to come forward against their abusers. Unfortunately, we can’t be too optimistic, as a statistic from RAINN shows over 11% of all college students are raped or a victim of sexual assault.

And realistically speaking, we still have an embarrassingly amount of ground to cover. 

We can’t continue to turn the cheek and keep it business as usual. We have to start empowering victims to feel safe enough to come forward and simultaneously teach sexual predators their vile actions won’t be tolerated.

Apologies and prayers are not enough.

Justice and accountability are.

Featured Image: Kevin Spacey was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy when he was 26. File

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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