Stories confirm what we know
Find the news article on the #MeToo Movement here.
Vivian Geilim opinion editor
The action of sexual assault lives in infamy and will forever live in infamy. It is a recited axiom that the word ‘sexual assault’ piggybacks a negative connotation. So, my question is that if it’s a well-known subject, an action notorious for lawsuits and jail time, why do people do it? Why has it recently become the most prominent topic of discussion? Why is there a new story about our elitist being accused of sexual predation? Why, then, has it become a daily occurrence for people in this country to fall victim to sexual assault by the minute if it is known as being a big no-no?
Honestly, I have no idea. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, “every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every eight minutes, that victim is a child.” We students, are theoretically vulnerable to sexual assault every eight minutes. And that is very scary. As much as I would like to discuss my views on the nature of sexual assault, why I believe our generation is keenly susceptible to it, and why I think people wait so long to report on it, I have asked some students to share their stories. Perhaps by reading what high school students have undergone, it will help shed some light onto realizing that we have a bigger issue in our country than just Harvey Weinstein, Michael Oreskes and Bryan Singer. We have sexual predators starting as teenagers.
Listed below are people who have decided to go on the record to speak about their experiences with sexual assault. Due to the personal nature of their stories, they have been kept anonymous.
“It was over the summer. I was, um, pretty drunk. I was under the influence and I was alone looking for my friend because I wanted to leave the party. I couldn’t find her and I didn’t know that many people who were there. I was walking by this brick house outside, looking for my friend, and this guy who I knew–he was my friend, I met him a couple of days before and he seemed really nice–he grabbed me by the arm. At first I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t completely violent or abusive, but it was pretty aggressive. He pulled me close to him and started whispering things like,‘You know you’re very beautiful.’
I was so stupid. At first I thought he was just being nice. I smiled and said, ‘Thank you’ and then tried to walk away to find my friend. All I wanted to do was look for her. He was still holding onto my arm pretty tight. I don’t think he realized how tight he was holding onto it. I automatically felt really uncomfortable and asked him to please help me find her. He, however, obviously had no interest in helping me. He repeated the same thing– it was like he was on repeat and that’s the only thing he could say: ‘You’re really beautiful.’
He was still holding onto my arm, tighter now. At first I thought,‘No way he’s going to try to do something. He’s a good guy.’ But I began to feel more and more uncomfortable as he kept getting closer to my face and making such uncomfortable eye contact. That’s when I tried to move my body away but he was holding on very tight. I didn’t know what to do. I kept saying, ‘I need to find my friend, I need to leave’ but I don’t think he cared about anything other than coming onto me.
With his other arm, he pushed me to the back of the brick wall, grabbed my head and started to kiss me. As soon as that started, I felt like I was going to be sick. I pushed him away, but he was bigger and stronger. So I just kind of slide to the side. Because of his grip, I ended up getting a pretty bloody scab from my elbow scraping against the bricks, but I was able to walk away. I ended up finding my friend shortly after and we went home.
My parents don’t know about that. I didn’t really tell anyone about it. I never really thought it was a big deal until I realized what had actually happened and how violent it actually was. I know that some people say that I shouldn’t have been under the influence but honestly, if you ask me, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. That shouldn’t be an excuse for someone to forcefully put their hands on me. It’s just not right.”
“Last year around this time I was sort of helping kids get in their Ubers home and because there were so many different cars coming up to the same place, I would call their name out, get them and make sure that they were all in the right Uber.
There was another student who lived very close to me and I had offered to take him home because he was not in the right state of mind. During the ride, he had kind of been touchy and stuff, which I’m not unfamiliar with. I think every girl has experienced that. If a guy is alone in a car with [a girl], they may think that that’s where it’s suppose to lead, but nowhere in my mind was I thinking that. I thought I was helping him out by bringing him home. He ended up trying to reach his hands down my shirt, he tried to take off my bra, tried to unbutton my pants and I felt the need to have to just push him away from me, obviously. And he’s a bigger guy so it wasn’t easy for me to [push him off].
At the end of the ride, my hands were pushing his shoulders toward the window of the Uber. I remember my right leg was on his calves to stretch his legs over so he couldn’t try to do anything like that and he still resisted. During the uber ride I would sometimes be able to calm him down and then I wouldn’t have to hold him down away from me.
I kind of considered us friends, so I thought that if I talked to him a little bit and was like, ‘Dude, look at me. Stop. I get it you’re messed up, but no. That’s not where this is, that’s not where that’s going,’ it would calm him down. He would realize and would sit straight and be like, ‘Sorry, forgot,’ and then maybe two minutes would go by and he would try it again…
He came to my apartment the next day [to pick up something] and I just remember his face was so guilty and obvious. I knew that what he was saying to me, he even knew it was a lie. He would say like, ‘I can’t even remember last night. It was so crazy.’ It was just really disgusting…It’s not just him. It’s a lot of the guys at this school and in the world that just tend to think that it’s okay…”
Although issues regarding sexual assault are seldom reported to the school, this should not stop anyone from reporting something they have seen or feel uncomfortable with. Even with sexual education in biology and health classes, our education system does not properly inform students of what is appropriate and what is not. We are taught about having safe sex, but not the actions of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and rape. There’s something wrong with that. Sexual assault is gaining prevalence by the minute, yet it still remains the elephant in the room. We, as a school and as a society, must permeate the uncomfortable topic of sexual misconduct amongst students. We need to teach kids what to do in uneasy situations, how to get out of them, who to contact, that it is okay to speak up and most importantly, that no means no. This is a very real issue amongst teenagers–and it’s time to accept the facts and think about the future.
Sexual assault: “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”
Sexual misconduct: “Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation.”
Sexual battery: “Sexual battery is an unwanted form of contact with an intimate part of the body that is made for purposes of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse.”
National sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-4673