The past few years sexual violence trials have become publicized through news coverage and social media outlet. They have had a huge impact on society and involve celebrities like Taylor Swift and Alyssa Milano. The trial involving Taylor Swift was started based on a man of power sexually assaulting a vulnerable woman. The trial also portrayed an important message for the public to hear: no matter the situation or negative pushback from society, you must fight for justice and never back down. The #MeToo movement and other similar trends have helped sexual violence victims have a voice in a politically charged country, where society is unafraid to speak about their struggles publicly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.” (Violence Prevention.)
There are many different types of sexual violence, and they don’t affect just women. They affect men and children as well. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center “one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.” (National Statistics on Sexual Violence) The National Sexual Violence Resource Center also stated that “one in every seven victims of sexual assault is under the age of six.” (Statistics) The average age range of children effected by sexual violence are between the “ages of 12 and 17”, according to the Rape Crisis Center. (Statistics). However, some people may argue that “rape does not occur frequently” or that when someone is raped during a social gathering they would be “hysterical.” According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there is one sexual assault every 107 seconds. According to Dr. Patricia L. Fanflik, when someone is sexually assaulted, they tend to react to the trauma differently. Some do become hysterical, while others laugh and try to move on like it never happened. For decades we have been told time and time again that “boys will be boys”, as an explanation of why a boy may have done something foolishly.
Growing up girls are told that if a boy is mean to you, he must like you. Boys growing up are told that if a girl runs away from you, she likes you. This little idiom has been used to explain why in middle school a boy would snap a girl’s bra strap against her back to see if it would come undone or to get her attention. The boy’s parents would tell the girl’s parents “oh you know how boys are at that age” or “you know boys will be boys.” The results of parents using this little quote as an explanation has resulted in them either getting a simple light punishment or a slap on the wrist and off the hook. Society has played a pivotal role in the façade that male masculinity is a power within itself, that it has unfortunately led to the idea this it is okay for men to push women around, especially if he has dominance or superiority over her. As a result of society making male dominance and masculinity a social norm, it further proves that boys can touch girls inappropriacy and receive little to no consequence at all, the basis of the sexual assault trial involving Taylor Swift was a radio programmer touched her inappropriately during a meet and greet. He went under her skirt and underwear and touched her bare ass. Even though Taylor reported it a few years after it had happened, she sued him for one dollar, to show the world that no matter the privilege or gender, that touching someone inappropriately demands justice.
However, the radio programmer countersued her for 300 million dollars, and his attorney kept harassing her with a bunch of the same questions just worded differently and she simply replied with “You can ask me a million questions—I’m never going to say anything different. I never have said anything different.” (Rosa) When you have victims of these vile acts of monstrous crimes that bring their cases to public attention years after the fact, most people question why they didn’t report it when it happened or accuse the victim of false allegations. While most people automatically assume it’s a false claim, according to a study conducted by the U.S Department of Justice from 2005 to 2010, claimed that 8% of Sexual violence survivors didn’t report their crime, because they believed it wasn’t important enough to report, according to The Rape Crisis Center. Furthermore, the same study claims that 28% of these victims who did report their crimes, cited they did so to protect their household or themselves from future acts of violence from the same perpetrator. This evidence eludes to the conclusion that majority of crimes are never reported and when they are “out of every 1000 rapes, 994 perps walk free,” according to The Rape Crisis Center from the exact same study conducted from 2005 to 2010.
Referring to a claim earlier stated about the relationship between the survivor and the perpetrators, “70% of rapes” are committed by someone the victim knows, according to The Rape Crisis Center. This source also cites that 45% of the perpetrators were acquaintances of the victim, and 28% were strangers. This study also stated that while most perpetrators are serial offenders, “370 perpetrators have at least one prior felony conviction.” (Statistics) This type of evidentiary support alludes to the inference that you should be more aware of who you trust spending time with. As a sexual assault survivor these statistics are very concerning. I was sexually assaulted on several occasions throughout my life starting as a child, then a teenager, and more recently as an adult.
The #MeToo movement gave me a voice to help another try to deal with the aftermath of the trauma. I believe that the impact these conversations introduce into society on these types of crimes are tremendous. They make people aware of the reality of the effects not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. That’s why I believe we should start talking about these things more openly, so we can help put an end to these acts of violence. These movements are not just movements for some, they are stepping stones to justice. Therefore, I believe the modern-day trends help give victims and survivors a voice, especially when the people of the United States are courageous enough to speak their truths and try to help others too.