It’s not taken seriously

What does it take to create change in a rape-prone world? The first step is obvious- seeing the need for change. This fundamental component is missing in our society when it comes to sexual violence. Imagine if 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men were victims of gun violence. It would be a global crisis. Task forces would be assembled to hunt down those responsible, we would be bombarded with urgent news stories about it, and victims would be overwhelmed with support and empathy. Now, think of how our culture treats sexual assault- an issue that continues to severely compromise the safety, physical, emotional, and sexual health of 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men [1].

Comedies joke about it. High school and college kids, and even courtrooms accuse people of deserving it or secretly wanting it. Disclosing sexual violence is commonly seen as a ploy for attention, or an attempt to ruin someone’s life by labelling them as a rapist, or a lie concocted to cover up a regrettable sexual experience.

The common thread behind all of these ideas is denial. Our society still denies that sexual violence is a real issue, that joking about it is not okay, or that perpetrators need to be held accountable. This is why sexual violence still persists in our society.

Before change can happen, we simply need to realize that this issue is very real, very harmful, and very relevant to all of us.

[1] Sexual Assault Statistics, SACHA Sexual Assault Centre. http://sacha.ca/fact-sheets/statistics.