The Epidemic of Sexual Assault



As college students suffering through our daily problems, we rarely think about what is going on around us. Sexual assault is an issue that we always hear about but most of us ignore. Manhattan College is basically wallpapered with flyers, barraging us with information on sexual assault in today’s society and realizing that there is a need for a change in the perception of rape.

Women do not need advice on how to not get raped—that is not where the issue lies. As a whole, society needs to change its perception on this issue. As members of society (especially in which sexual assault is so common), the change begins with us.

Photo by Natalie Heinitz
Photo by Natalie Heinitz

When one first learns of a rape victim, one automatically hears how she was drinking or that she was dressed provocatively. But it is not her fault. Why do we think, even as women, that it is okay to sexually assault someone if they drank too much or didn’t dress to some societal standard?

It is never okay and will never be okay.

The official definition of rape is, according to Oxford Dictionary, “The crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will.” If the whole idea of rape is that it is forced upon a victim, why is the victim blamed?

This has caused society to take sexual assault as a common occurrence, making the number of sexual assaults skyrocket. In an article in Time Magazine, it is said that “The number of sex crimes reported on U.S. college campuses soared by 50% over the course of a decade.”

This is a widespread issue that it is causing women to feel unsafe even walking around college campuses. In a perfect world, we would not have to feel threatened by men by just walking around. Because of the impact it is having on students, it was crucial for Manhattan College to take action.

In the dorm buildings there are posters portraying the idea that it is just as much a man’s responsibly as it is a woman’s. These posters say things like “Real men can take no for an answer” and enforces the idea that consent is necessary.

After realizing that most sexual assault information is directed to women, which creates the idea that the responsibility is on them to change, the posters were made to show students the truth of sexual assault. One in five women are sexually assaulted on college campuses, yet students still don’t realize its gravity.

Students are constantly making jokes over them, showing the seriousness of the issue at hand. Freshman Abby Adams said, “Even walking down the hall you hear people laughing at them.”

Because no one is taking actual responsibility for what is happening, rape has become a joke, something that people dread having to learn about. This will only cause sexual assaults to increase more in our society, perpetuating the idea that something that is 100 percent not okay, is normal.

There are stories of sexual assault flooding the news today. Someone needs to stand up for these women who society is blaming. However, the media are beginning to positively affect the perception of women. Recently, The New York Daily News covered a story on Emma Sulkowicz, a student at Columbia University who is taking a stand against her school, her rapist and sexual assault as a whole.

Photo by Natalie Heinitz
Photo by Natalie Heinitz

After her school refused to take disciplinary actions against her rapist, Sulkowicz lugged around a mattress throughout her school day to express the hardship she is going through. The newly viral “Mattress Girl” movement has caught fire and is leading other people to stand up for the massive issue of sexual assault.

Hopefully, our Manhattan College community will jump on this bandwagon and stand up for women, and realize sexual assault is a serious issue that needs to change. It is time to move on from an age where sexism is still prevalent and move towards our future, where anything an happen.