“100 percent of my friends have been sexually harassed,” Szabo said.
Stop thinking that it is a problem out there and that it won’t happen to a friend or family member close by. American students living on a college campus struggle with issues of sexual assault everyday. The issue of assault is often kept secretive and thought of as a taboo topic. Assault does not just happen in stereotypical situations on college campuses. Anywhere, anytime, and by any means a person could possibly be sexually assaulted. Often people do not talk about the problem enough or share their stories of sexual assault.
When polling during workshops, often “percentages are in that sixty, seventy, and eighty percent who know someone or they themselves have been sexually assaulted,” said Jennie O’Connell, Director of the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services Victims here at Kent State.
Kent State student Bobbie Szabo is unfortunately very familiar with sexual assault instance
“It didn’t like break me down or anything because I’m a really strong person,” Szabo said. “But I do know a lot of people would be far more affected.”
She talks about her experiences of sexual assault while she was in high school, as well as her recent discovery of her best friends attack. She goes on to explain that her experience of sexual assault was a rough experience.
When Bobbie explains her friend’s story, it is much more intense than her own. She describes a girl being slammed against a wall, having her hair pulled, and not wanting touched.
Bobbie explains that her friend did not expressly state “no,” just like Bobbie did not say “no” when she was attacked.
This does not mean that both of the women consented. Stating no is just one of the many signs showing that someone does not consent.
“Tell men don’t rape, don’t tell girls don’t get raped,” said Jenell Cooks, KSU Students Against Sexual Assault member.
When people hear about someone getting assaulted they often don’t know how to approach the problem for fear of offending someone or bringing up unwanted emotions. However, the majority of victims want to tell their stories in order to help other women who are victims. Society keeps putting pressure on people to keep their stories hidden and to keep the issue of sexual assault unknown.The issue of sexual assault is not going away.
“237,868 victims of sexual assault each year,” said Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network Statistics.
The first step to help women and preventing more attacks is to talk about the problem of assault.