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A Reflection on the Sexual Assault Assembly

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M.E.S.A or otherwise known as

M.E.S.A or otherwise known as "Moving to End Sexual Assault" logo

M.E.S.A or otherwise known as "Moving to End Sexual Assault" logo

Treyton Williams, Staff Writer

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Sexual assault was foreign to me. I knew what it was, or at least the bare bones of it. But it wasn’t a man’s problem, right? It wasn’t my problem.

The seminar we had on sexual assault disproved that.

It’s fair to say that afterward everyone’s eyes were just a little more open. The statistics were staggering. I don’t remember all of them, but that’s what makes the ones that I do recall so important, so startling. They stuck out to me, a person who has never experienced such an atrocious act. One out of every four women and one out of every nine men in the US have been victimized by sexual assault. That is a massive amount of people. I thought that being a victim of this crime was almost exclusive to women. I had no idea that so many men could fall prey to this. Hearing that number made me sit up and stare at the screen in disbelief. There was no way, right? When the presenter explained that many of these assaults occurred in prison, my shock effectively doubled. I had heard the rumors and stereotypes of prison rape, but I thought they were just that: stories. There was a lot of horrible truth that I wasn’t even aware of in those myths. Prison is far from the only place where these awful acts take place. It was mentioned that this can happen in parks, libraries, even schools. The thought that something like this could happen in the same building I was sitting in was one I wanted to put away, but I couldn’t. A sense of knowledgeable dread set it, as if my newfound knowledge made the room look a little darker. Really, this could happen in any public place. It is fair to say the whole room felt at least a little shaken by this fact.

Much of the presentation was centered around the definition of sexual assault and what people could do to protect themselves and get help if needed. By far, the most downright frightening part of the presentation was when we were presented with a stat that left me feeling confused and even a little defeated. Over 1.4 billion people on the planet have experienced sexual assault. Billion. With a B. Almost a fourth of the Earth’s population. My mind raced with questions. How? How could something so horrible happen to so many people? When we left the auditorium to continue with our day, I felt shaken.

People like to hide away or deny what they are afraid of. Maybe it was just a lack of education that made me feel that sexual assault was something I was completely distant from. Deep down I knew that it was true that these crimes were closer to home. One point four billion. The odds that I knew someone who had been victimized were a mathematical certainty. The odds that I knew many people in those circumstances were also astronomically, terrifyingly high.

Part of me is happy that I attended the presentation, that I had my over-protected gaze of the world peeled back. The first step to fixing any problem is acknowledging it. I fully acknowledge the problem now. The only way to bring that over a billion strong number down is to be aware. Be aware of those around you, those you love. There are people out there who wish to take advantage of others. From now on, I swear that I will serve as the antithesis of these people. I will stay alert to the signs of abuse on others, I will be honest in reporting what I see and say and, most importantly, I will step in to help any victim who I see being attacked or who asks for help. Now, knowing the truth, it is my problem and I will do what I can to fix it.

MESA 24-Hour Hotline: 303.443.7300

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A Reflection on the Sexual Assault Assembly