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“Sexual Assault Allegations Lead to…Almost Nothing?”

Donald Trump was accused of sexual assault and became president.

Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault and became a lifelong judge on the highest judicial court in the country.

Individuals who hold major positions of power have set a troublesome precedent within this country: sexual assault allegations lead to almost nothing.

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement last October, many women have reported and shared their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. Allegations have forced some to be held responsible for their actions…to an extent.

We still live in a culture that makes it incredibly difficult for women like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to report incidences of rape. Additionally, many women who have come forward since the #MeToo Movement have been warned that they need to be careful about what they accuse men of because it might ruin a man’s life.

There is an overarching fear that women reporting sexual assault and harassment are hysterical, and the accused need to be protected by these crazy lies.

According to a study conducted in 2010 by Violence Against Women, only 2-10% of rape accusations are proven to be fake. Thus, false allegations are random and rare exceptions.

In another study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 20-25% of college women are victims of forced sex during their time at college. More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.

Historically, sexual assault isn’t reported, and when it is, the majority of those accused get a slap on the wrist.

Kavanaugh didn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

I am deeply disheartened by his election to the Supreme Court. Although it is easy to feel discouraged when politics triumph women’s rights and our government refuses to hold sexual predators accountable, we cannot forget the progress that has been made since the #MeToo Movement, especially in the way we discuss and view sexual harassment and assault.

For a long time, society did not address the issue of sexual assault and harassment. It was something ignored and viewed as a private matter; something to feel ashamed of. Abuse was the victim’s responsibility, rather than the perpetrator’s.

Today, many people are finding productive ways to talk about the subject, and it has even caused lawmakers to respond.

Recently, and over the course of the past year, I have personally noticed an increase in conversation concerning rape, sexual assault and what it means to have consensual sex.

For a long time, I think rape has been imagined as a person being attacked by a creepy stranger in a dark street. Yet, in reality, 51.5% of female victims of rape report being raped by an intimate partner, and 40.8% report being raped by an acquaintance. 52.4% of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% report a stranger. Most victims are sexually assaulted and harassed by someone they know.

Social movements need time to create lasting change. Change begins with movements like #MeToo and continues through conversation and protest of incidences like the recent allegations against Kavanaugh.

By: Senior and history major Brielle Budroe


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