Take Back The Night, a national event, was recently hosted by No Woman Left Behind at Wittenberg. The night offers a safe and supportive environment for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse to heal and gather strength by coming together and sharing their stories to form a community.
As a fellow Wittenberg Student and also a survivor, I feel it is important to share our stories to help educate others to help spread awareness and also to strengthen our Wittenberg family, leaving no person left behind.
As a survivor I’ve learned first hand how important education and discussion is to preventing sexual assault. Though these discussions can be painful, difficult, and uncomfortable they are necessary component in the fight to help stop the growing number of assaults in our times. First of all it is important to recognize that this is not just a problem for women, but it is problem for all of us. Every human has the potential to be assaulted, regardless of a persons’ biological sex, which many do not think about. With that being said, it is a fact that biological women are the predominant group that are “victimized” however all groups must be included in this discussion because all types of assault should be addressed, otherwise nothing will be accomplished.
In addition, rape culture is everyone’s problem. A quick summary for those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, rape culture is basically victim blaming, saying that it was the victims fault based on what they were wearing, how drunk they were, ect. Do men not realize that this makes their gender look like total crap? The fact that some people blame a sexual assault based on the length of a skirt or the plunge of a neck line makes men look like heathens that can’t control their primal desires. If more men realized this, you better believe there would be a drastic change.
However, the most compelling argument to why sexual assault is everyone’s problem is the sheer number of people that have been assaulted. Whether you know it or not, you know somebody that has been assaulted. You probably know multiple people that have been assaulted. But they are silent. Silence is the biggest problem in this entire mix. Nobody wants to address it, to talk about it, to let people know that they have been hurt in this way. That I why I am taking a leap of faith and writing this piece. There cannot be any progress without admitting what has been done.
This is in no means an article to tell survivors to go write an article for the paper announcing their story. Instead I intend it to be a push for those who have kept silent to seek help, and find strength in a community of survivors, who understand the type of pain that sexual assault inflicts. One in three women will be assaulted in their life time, which is astounding. Just imagine if they all came together, took that pain and made it useful, made it a movement to prevent and educate. What a force it would be.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault and need help, there are plenty of resources. No Woman Left Behind is a campus group of survivors and non survivors that work to educate and help survivors of assault. In addition if you need counseling, legal, or medical services, Project Woman is a local group designed to help.