Opinion: Society needs to stop ignoring sexual assault

Sexual assault is a reoccurring night­mare in society. From the #MeToo movement to the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards — where prominent actresses dressed in all black to stand in solidarity with sexual assault victims and survivors — society is finally start­ing to demand justice.

Although it is satisfying to see that survivors are uniting together and pro­testing for peace for themselves and giving other victims a platform to come up and speak out, sexual assault is a hot topic.

I’m angry that at my young age, a majority of my friends and peers have been sexually assaulted or raped. I’m angry that these survivors felt like they couldn’t speak out because of the re­percussions — because they felt like they were singled out and alone in this abuse. That they sometimes felt like they deserved this hurt. This isn’t right.

According to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, an Ameri­can is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds — man or woman, adult or child. Every 98 seconds, an individ­ual is taken advantage of, and that statistic is alarming.

I’m angry that sexual assault is such a common happening that people actu­ally normalize it now. Not just in daily life, but for celebrities too. We look at Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey as men who have been influential actors, and even they normalize the act of sexu­ally assaulting someone. I’m angry that actors and audiences alike trust these men, leaving victims to feel the need to shove their assault under the rug to avoid conflict or punishment.

I’m angry that victims feel the need to be punished, because their peers idly stand by and disbelieve them or ignore it. Society needs to stop ignoring these survivors when they try to speak out about their abuse. These perpetrators live with and around us, some of which we put our trust into.

Sexual assault and rape are not things to ignore, and as the UW com­munity, we should be sharing more awareness on campus. We need to remember that this can’t be normal­ized, and we can’t just scroll past these news stories online like we do a pic­ture on Instagram.

I’m angry, and you should be an­gry too.

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