By Delilah Gray
One in four women fall victim to sexual assault, but 71 percent of victims never report it. In 2017, the one in four victims are finally speaking out, and the world is finally holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions. Ranging from sexual harassment to rape, at least 30 actors and politicians have been under fire for hundreds of allegations coming to light. The time where people would throw around the phrase, “Boys will be boys” is coming to an end. Boys, like everyone else, will be held accountable for their actions – and we should pay attention to it. The rise of these allegations is both the scariest and most revolutionary thing that could’ve happened for people fighting sexual assault.
You can’t even google sexual assault without a flood of articles of people coming out accusing different public figures. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal came a snowball effect of different hashtags and long overdue reports to law officials. Overall, the implications of all these sexual assaults coming to light shows that rape culture is finally starting to halt. It just proved multiple points: sexual assault is as rampant as studies depicted and that, in fact, most victims never come out about it. Before this snowball effect, sexual assault was a subject everyone would shrug off. It happened, we all knew it, but no one decided to change it until Weinstein’s scandal. Before these past six weeks, rape culture was embedded in our everyday life: the music we listened to, the relationships we idolized on TV, how we handled relationships and so much more. It’s about time we shut down Hollywood moguls’ egos and abolish rape culture.
On a micro level, I believe this movement will only encourage those who have been wronged to speak out. While it can be subjective from person to person, the media shows that people are starting to speak out from the movie industry, colleges, government and even the workplace. Many people have been making jokes about the allegations coming to light and how serious everyone is taking it. News flash: rape jokes are never funny and it’s incredibly serious. According to Huffington Post, most people don’t speak out for a multitude of reasons ranging mainly from fear of not being believed to affecting their lives. No more of the victims being afraid, it’s the time for the assailants to worry about their futures.
Now I’ve been poring over research for hours on end for the past few years, so I have a knowledge of how prevalent sexual assault is in society. At first, I was scared, scared because of the statistics showing these victims were true. It was terrifying to think this horrible act happened to so many people and how they were all being bullied into silence. But some of the biggest goals sexual assault advocates strive for is awareness and people finally reporting it. This flood of allegations, of people finally standing up is what we needed. Now I’m empowered because we won’t be silent anymore.
Throughout my journey with dealing with the fact that I was sexually assaulted, I read over the statistics. One in four, where were the other ones? It felt lonely because it felt like no one else was, that we were all silenced. The past few weeks have shown that when people come together, we can make progress as a society. I had my doubts that justice would ever be served in the patriarchal hierarchy within Hollywood. I had my doubts about the numbers, it felt like I was so alone for so long. Then this spiral effect saved my life and proved that we are women, and we will roar.
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