Sexual assault is nothing new. It has been around since humanity itself and yet it is still an issue today. Why it is so hard to gain consent from another person before engaging in sexual activity? Simply put, it isn’t.
According to National Statistics on Sexual Violence, one in four women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, and one in six men will experience sexual assault. Sexual assault is defined as a general term that includes sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact, child sexual abuse, incest and rape. Sexual contact becomes assault when a person is unable to or does not consent to an activity.
In the past few years,sexual assault has become more widely discussed as men in powerful positions become exposed for committing such heinous crimes. Men such as Bill Cosby, President Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein and now President George H.W. Bush have all been convicted or accused of sexual assault.
Out of shame and embarrassment, men and women often do not come forward with sexual assault for fear of judgement by others or not being believed or taken seriously. Too common we hear sayings that blame the victim or excuse the actions of the attacker. In a society that pardons these actions makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to come forward when they have been assaulted.
Fed up with the number of high profile sexual assaults, and sexual assault in general, people turned to social media and began telling their stories of sexual assault experiences with the hashtag “me too.” Elaborate sexual assault stories surfaced on Facebook and Twitter or others simply post saying “#metoo” in support of those who are coming forward.
The gravity of this movement may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I see it as another milestone in the right direction. The stigma around sexual assault victims is still alive in society, but in recent years there has been a growing majority of people who are rallying behind victims and making sure they feel safe to report forward sexual assault when it occurs.
The “me too” movement is not going to get bills signed or people in authoritative positions to address the problem over night, but it shows that people care enough to address the problem and shed a new light on sexual assault. Any journey towards justice is a long and arduous road, but it is a necessary one if we are to better ourselves as a society and defend each other when we hear of our neighbors’ injustices.