What is it like to be a victim of sexual assault?
One incident changes a person’s personality and life, and oftentimes we do not even know it. That individual will never be the person that they used to be, and if the news is publicized, then society tends to make it even more distressing for the victim and their family.
It is disturbing and annoying to a victim when people around them make thoughtless comments. Initially, some people may show sympathy, but they will usually end up asking inappropriate questions to the family indirectly, which in turn can be embarrassing or traumatizing for them to answer. We do not realize that these nagging questions rewind the tragic episode for the entire family. It is understandable for the people most closely involved to be offended and become even more conservative, given the way people discuss and perceive sexual trauma in our society.
Oftentimes, victims are afraid to travel alone, even under daylight. It often takes months to get a smile on their face. However, these small, overlooked responses to trauma usually go unnoticed.
After reading such tormenting headlines in the newspapers, I felt so unsafe living in such an environment, knowing that someday an incident like this could happen to me. I tried to ask myself, “How would I deal with it?”
I felt helpless after processing all this in my mind. I hope one day that the country that is supposed to be my home can become safer and that sexual violence becomes a far less common occurrence.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing sexual assault. There are many different ways that you can step in or make a difference if you see someone at risk. This approach to preventing sexual assault is referred to as “bystander intervention.”
We need to educate every single person about the unfortunate and common occurrences of sexual assault and gender violence in society, especially on college campuses. If members of the Drexel community try to maintain a healthy environment, with the help of a vigilant police force, we can bring a change.
There are so many questions we must ask ourselves and other people, but first you must ask yourself: Are you willing to make a change? Will you talk with your family members about it?
Ignorance is not the answer. There are numerous practices and concepts that we should openly discuss and educate everyone about, from adults to youth. We should teach healthy, safe dating and intimate relationship skills to adolescents; promote healthy sexuality; introduce empowerment-based training and strengthen economic supports for women and families. We must also strengthen leadership and opportunities for girls, create more protective environments, improve safety and monitoring in schools, establish applicable workplace policies and address community-level risks through environmental approaches.