We need to stop normalizing sexual assault

We need to stop normalizing sexual assault

We need to stop normalizing sexual assault
October 18
21:07 2016

When a presidential candidate makes disgustingly misogynistic comments about women, it makes national news. But the influx of attention on the same candidate’s creepy habits doesn’t stop much either. A sexual assault occurs every two seconds, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

Unfortunately, for the victims of this incessant crime, attention isn’t called to every case of sexual assault. If attention is brought upon a case, it’s usually in the form of victim blaming. Women are held to unusually high standards of living, where they are forced to combat the potential of sexual assault every day.

It’s easy to say you don’t support sexual assault and rape. No one wants to willingly admit they support the idea of someone forcing themselves onto another person. However, people willingly support people who have committed sexual assault. When it’s someone you know, it’s easy to shut off contact with them completely. When it’s a celebrity, a musician or an artist, the line seems to blur. The fact is, rapists and people who commit sexual assault shouldn’t be supported, even through their creative outlets.

“Their music is so good though, it shouldn’t matter what they did,” isn’t an excuse. If you support someone in their lifestyle, you normalize the person and what they’ve done. It doesn’t matter if they’re the best player in the NFL or a politician. Supporting people who commit sexual assault allows them to get away with what they did. If it becomes apparent that it doesn’t matter if they raped someone, the perpetrator might do it again.

In fact, out of 520 suspects who were accused of rape but released during pre-trial, 70 committed a new crime after being acquitted, according to RAINN.

As a society, however, we don’t think this is a problem. We turn our heads the other way and ignore the scope of the problem. Instead, people insist victims must have done something to warrant being sexually assaulted.

The idea that women in particular must protect themselves at all times is ridiculous. This stigma makes women feel uncomfortable. They don’t feel safe going out with groups of friends. They don’t feel safe walking home alone. Women tend to live in a perpetual sense of fear, thinking ahead to avoid the possibility of being raped.

When people like Donald Trump make comments that suggest men are entitled to women’s bodies, this only furthers the stigma against victims. We’ve normalized men like this as a society, and written off misogynistic and creepy comments as “locker room talk.”

You are not entitled to a woman’s body. Not when you’re married, not when you’re dating, not when she made eye contact with you for .002 seconds.

We do nothing to make women feel safer. We place the burden on them to be aware of their surroundings. To watch their drinks at parties. To wear the “right” things. To bring pepper spray or a taser to protect themselves from people who shouldn’t feel they’re entitled to others’ bodies in the first place.

When something does happen, the victim is almost always blamed. For wearing too little. For smiling. For being nice. We have this intrinsic desire to believe in the innocence of others, much to the chagrin of victims.

Especially when the victim is in the headlines, people are quick to scrutinize them for every little thing. People don’t want to believe Bill Cosby drugged and raped over 60 women. Even when there are that many victims coming forward, people still find reasons to deny their claims.

Sexual assault is a big deal. It isn’t really considered to be by our society, and that’s got to change. The only way we can stop rapists is by taking a firm stand against them. We need to stop normalizing misogynistic and creepy sexual behavior. No more turning the other cheek. No more catcalling. No more victim blaming.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

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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1 Comment

  1. Tracy Everbach
    Tracy Everbach October 20, 16:43

    Excellent column, Morgan. Important and very well written. Thank you.

    Reply to this comment

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