As most of you hopefully already know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and there’s been much happening on campus (the Clothesline Project was this week, PACT’s Green Light District party was last night, the Sexual Violence Community Forum and Take Back the Night are both next week) to raise awareness about sexual violence and bring it out in the open. Over this past week especially, I have been confronted with and insulted by the ignorance about sexual violence and the pervasive rape myths that have colonized people’s minds.
I have heard ridiculously ignorant and insensitive comments uttered from the words of Tufts students that once again, remind me that I am very lucky and spoiled to be surrounded by like-minded people who are educated, aware of, and passionate about issues around sexual violence. I’m reminded again that there are lots of minds to be changed, even in a liberal school all about “active citizenship”.
Sexual violence continues to be something swept under the rug. However it is something that touches the lives of many people. 1 out of 6 American women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. College women are four times more likely than the rest of the population to be sexually assaulted or raped. 1 in 33 men have been the victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. (Statistics from RAINN).
Most people who are involved in sexual violence activism tend to be survivors themselves or have had a loved one who is a survivor. Many other people fail to see it as an important and a necessary topic to engage in because it doesn’t personally affect them, or as one man told us “I’ve never been raped and I’m not a rapist”. When sexual violence is such a personal issue that affects the lives of so many people, more people than we may think, I am insulted and upset by widespread ignorance about sexual violence and insensitive comments that people drop.