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Sexual assault: what you need to know

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Sexual assault: what you need to know

Kaylee Staral, Entertainment Editor

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Surges of debates, government and news criticism, presidential input, widespread chaos, and a seat on the Supreme Court.

Recent events in the government have sparked a national conversation about sexual assault, and it’s clear that the discussion is only just getting started.

Photo Illustration by Kaylee Staral

With weeks worth of trials and uproar behind him, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice on October 6th, 2018. The women who accused him of sexual assault in weeks prior were left stunned and devastated when the FBI refused to investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh, and he was confirmed without a second glance. And more importantly, women and men across the country were left pondering two questions.

Who is to be blamed? Who is to be believed?

This is not the first instance of sexual assault interfering with politics, and many believe that it won’t be the last either. And with the spotlight on the Kavanaugh case, women everywhere are coming out with their stories and raising their voice in protestation.

For a decade now, the #MeToo Movement takes a strong influence on people nationwide and drives women to share their stories and be proud of their gender. With President Trump accused of sexual assault on over 20 different cases, the country was shook up with a newfound passion to speak up against sexual assault, especially in politics.

Photo Illustration by Kaylee Staral

And while all of these events happened on a larger scale, sexual assault is more than just a headline for a newspaper.

“Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault” claims the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network(RAINN).

If that fact is true, then 36 people will experience sexual assault in an hour, and 881 people will experience sexual assault in a day.

881 people.

That’s a little under the amount of students in attendance at our very own high school.

The uproar against sexual assault in recent years makes complete sense when you really think about the magnitude and frequency of sexual assault. And even though a fair amount is being done to prevent it, sexual assault is still far too common.

We, the students, are still young. For the freshman, there are still three exciting years of highschool left, but for the seniors, there is only one more semester before adult life. What, exactly, that entails is different for every person, but for a majority of these students, life after high school includes college. For many, that kind of freedom is all they could ever want. Yet, there is a far more disturbing truth about college that doesn’t involve long essays or high tuition costs.

Sexual assault on college campuses is extremely common.

“11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation” states RAINN on their website. That’s one tenth of all college students, and the striking reality of it all is that we are almost college students.

“Be aware of your surroundings. I mean, that’s 90% of your defense right there” says gym teacher, Dru Hay, when asked for advice to incoming college students. Hay not only teaches aerobics to classes of high schoolers, but she has also taken the lead along with Mrs. Jones on promoting self defense among high school girls and teaching them everything they need to know about sexual assault.

Photo Illustration by Kaylee Staral

In recent years, they have started a self-defense class and one thing they talk about is the catastrophic effects sexual assault has on people.

RAINN says that people who been affected by sexual assault in one way or another have serious flashbacks of the event and PTSD which causes unneeded stress and anxiety It clouds their conscience and becomes all they think about.

Most of the time, sexually assaulted people don’t speak up either in fear of not being believed for an action that wasn’t their fault to begin with and they in turn, are forced to hold the emotional and physical pain inside.

“I think in the end it probably just mentally and emotionally has an impact on their confidence” says Hay.

“I do think it’s great that we have classes, like gym classes, for girls to take self defense classes. And I feel like counselors are always there, Ms. Oldenburg is always there as someone to talk to if you’re going through a sexual assault crisis” said senior Jake Gately.

It’s important for our students to know that there are resources in the building; there are people to help. Sexual assault should not be simply brushed under the rug.

In today’s society, young people–especially our generation–have a voice. Use that voice to speak up against the injustices that unfortunately still happen quite frequently.

It’s not an easy topic to talk about, but to make a change, students have to recognize their voice and be loud.

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Sexual assault: what you need to know