Sexual Assault Victims Deserve to Be Treated Better

Brea Jones/ Staff Writer

Societies’ lack of care and empathy for victims of sexual assault not only shocks me, but also disgusts me. Case after case it is proven that the judges and the lawmakers have chosen a side, and they would rather not be on the side of the victim.

Jacob Walter Anderson was accused of raping a 19-year-old virgin in 2016. Dec. 10 Anderson was allowed to accept a plea deal for a lesser charge and completely avoided jail time.

Prosecutor Hilary Laborde emailed the victim saying, “Our jurors aren’t ready to blame rapists when there isn’t concrete proof of more than one victim.”

This statement, if true, is not only tragic but also careless. Excusing the act of a criminal simply because it is their first time breaking the law poses an extreme danger to society.        

I constantly see stories of a student not receiving his deserved punishment even though he is definitely guilty and each time it is a slap in the face not only to the person assaulted but to everyone who has ever been sexually assaulted,

It seems as though there is a ‘boys will be boys’ mentality around rape and that needs to end.

Anderson took a plea deal and was given a slap on the wrist. Counseling, a $400 fine, and no criminal record after serving three years probation. Looking back; Anderson’s victim may only think that she is worth $400 when this is not something that you can put on a tab.

Stories of sexual assault are becoming so common that everyday people are becoming more desensitized to how serious the issue is. This past week alone I’ve heard tons of sexual assault jokes. No matter how light-hearted the joke may seem, it always makes me cringe on the inside.

Maybe society has always been this way and I am just starting to pay attention. Regardless of when the desensitization began it is way past time to reevaluate your dialect and realize that not everything should be portrayed as a joke.

These are no situations where someone can say “you are being too sensitive.” Crimes like these should be taken seriously. Too many lives are impacted by sexual assault.

An estimated 17.7 million American women are victims of sexual assault since 1998, according to rainn.org.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The 17.7 million does not include unreported cases, cases involving male victims, nor cases involving women from other countries.

Of course, cases where someone has been falsely accused also have a huge impact on lives.

All these things need to change. The number of cases of assault must lower, people should not be afraid to speak out when they are assaulted; and people who falsely accuse someone else should be punished.

It is way past time to put an end to the epidemic.

The best thing that we can do to stop the judges and petty careless policies is to vote and petition. We have to start voting for people who actually want to make a change and improve the lives of people who are repeatedly being overlooked by those we expect to keep us safe.

One thing I have learned, although it seems like common sense, not everyone grasps the concept that words and actions affect other people.                        

On several occasions, I have seen situations where someone will say, “John Doe sexually assaulted me” as a joke and expect the response to be a laugh. There is nothing funny about the so-called joke.  This shouldn’t be something that needs to be explained but I have heard these words come out of several people’s mouths. You never know how the things you say may make someone feel.

I’m not saying treat everyone as if they are a bubble that can’t be poked by a feather. I am saying I want everyone to take responsibility for themselves and take the time to acknowledge how they treat others and think before they speak. All things we should have learned to do before we even left grade school. Stop turning a blind eye to problems that are so desperately in need of a solution.

DISCLAIMER:

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

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