DAVID CRANE VIA LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
Question:What is the most effective way to reduce sexual violence?
Educate Everyone on the Basics: Written by Carolina Gonzalez, New York
The term sexual violence can refer to crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, to name a few. People of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and appearances can become victims of sexual violence. Sexual violence has become a prominent and rampant issue in our society today. Especially now that more and more individuals are opening up about their experiences with sexual violence. Even celebrities such as Kesha, Lady Gaga, Terry Crews, and Aly Raisman are opening up about their experiences with sexual violence. There are also celebrities on the other side of sexual violence crimes such as Harvey Weinstein and Melanie Martinez. Recently, it seems like a never ending amount of victims of sexual violence are telling their stories and showing other victims of sexual violence that they are not suffering alone and should not have to suffer in silence.
The fact that such a large amount of individuals have experienced sexual violence is alarming and disturbing. How can we reduce the amount of sexual violence that is occuring? I feel that the way to do this is by educating people on sexual violence and its impact on the victims. There is a lot of ignorance surrounding what sexual violence really is and what sexual violence really does. I have seen this ignorance displayed on social media various time before. Perpetrators of sexual violence may be unaware of the true impact they have on the lives of the victim and they may also not be aware of why what they are doing is wrong. They may also not be worried about the consequences of their actions. Based on recent cases there does not even seem to be consequences for perpetrators of sexual violence. They too often walk away untouched from perpetrating sexual violence without having to suffer the consequences of their actions. The law has failed victims of sexual violence too many times before.
It is never the fault of the victim that they became victims of sexual violence. Nothing they could have worn could make them deserve the sexual violence they experienced. Even if the victim does not say “No”, they never said “Yes”. Sexual violence is always solely the fault of the perpetrator. It does not matter what kind of life the victim lives because no one deserves to become a victim of sexual violence. Ultimately, as a society we should try to bring awareness to sexual violence because it is a problem that should not be as rampant as it is.
Education Through the Public Sector: Written by Valerie Gregorio, Maryland
Sexual violence is one of the main issues that any country has dealt with. It is defined as a “sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent with violence.” It is a human rights problem that anyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or background, could face. Sexual violence affects victims as well their families and friends for a long time. This is where sexual violence prevention comes into play, which stops sexual violence from occurring in the first place. Prevention efforts in response to sexual violence greatly reduces the number of individuals committing such acts, and the number of victims affected by it.
There are several ways to reduce sexual violence. The most efficient way is to have public sectors educate and promote good practices to the public. Public sectors provide government goods and services to the public. They are owned by the government, either at a local, state, or federal level. One of service they provide is education. This education should be extended to promote to the the public how to prevent sexual violence. There are already several programs in place working towards this goal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, collaborate to provide information and tools to the public in order to protect their health. This includes protecting them against sexual violence. They have several effective and promising programs designed to educate people of all education levels, whether they have graduated and entered the workforce or not. For example, the program Shifting Boundaries was designed to reduce dating violence and sexual harassment among adolescents in middle school. This program includes a six-session classroom course with school-wide programs focusing on revising rules on dating violence and sexual harassment, increasing awareness and reporting, and increasing greater surveillance in unsafe school areas. This combines a classroom-based approach and a school-wide component.
Educating in a classroom alone is not enough to reduce sexual violence. The program intervention of Shifting Boundaries in schools combined with classroom education has been shown to effectively reduce sexual violence after six months. Programs such as Shifting Boundaries are important in taking steps towards reducing sexual violence and educating the public about it. I personally think public sectors educating and promoting to the public would be the most efficient way to reduce and prevent sexual violence.
Sexual violence is unfortunately an all to common threat to public health and safety. Public sectors geared towards saving lives and keeping people healthy should be encouraged to take more action and produce further prevention strategies to ensure everyone can be safe from sexual violence.
Men Must Have and Active Role: Written by Chase Brown
In order for this epidemic of sexual misconduct and violence to come to an end there must be joint cooperation between men and women. This movement will crash and burn and the issue will become worse if it simply becomes a matter of blaming all men and forcing all men to live in fear. By the simple click of the post button on any social media a man in power can have his entire career brought to an end. Now surely most of these allegations are undoubtedly true, but it is not difficult to make something up and post it because it is a person's word against another's. Never before throughout history has an issue ever been resolved by striking fear into and intimidating a group of people.
Men and women must come together to work towards ending these problems. There should be more programs in schools raising awareness of sexual violence and misconduct. Schools should be teaching students these things and they should also encourage parents to sit down with their children and discuss these matters. It is crucial that fathers sit down with their sons and truly explain how a woman should be treated and how she should never ever be treated. There needs to be a clear emphasis on what is not okay. What some boys may think is a harmless cat call or comment to a girl walking by is a truly degrading and hurtful insult to women. Excuses such as "oh it's just locker-room talk or boys just being boys" is disgusting and completely unacceptable.
I will reiterate that this cannot be a women only movement. Men and woman must work together to bring about change. There also needs to be some clear distinctions among the plethora of allegations surfacing. There is a momentous difference between sexual assault like rape or child molestation and sexual misconduct like unwanted verbal comments or a pat on the butt. It is simply unacceptable to amalgamate these offenses and almost illustrate them as equal because they are not.
Now It's Time for Your Input
Who carries the primary responsibility to educate people on sexual assault? Is it the government? Is it the general public? Should it be contained within a work environment?What is men's role in this? Should they have an active role, or should they listen respectfully and support the women who have stayed silent for so long? We want to hear your input! Maybe discuss what your country does to address sexual violence and if they have experienced the certain rapid increased awareness that has been seen in countries around the world in the past 3-4 months. Our conversation is built on sharing as many perspectives as possible. The more you participate, the better we are able to begin bridging the divide.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION