Sexual Assault/Rape

Huda Khan

Eight out of every 10 rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. There is an alarming rate of sexual assaults occurring around the world. Reports of sexual assaults in schools are also growing in numbers. The #MeToo movement has drawn attention to sexual assault in schools and workplaces. Some of the assaults that occur in schools happen from teachers or staff members, while in some cases the victims are the staff or teachers. 

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is the act in which a person sexually touches another person without consent, or forces them to engage in a sexual act against their will. The National Centers for Victims of Crimes states that “Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.” Sexual assault has many forms such as rape, groping, child sexual abuse, or the torture of a person in a sexual manner. 

Statistics

In the United States:

  • 79% of victims are women, 21% are men
  • 51% are harassed by a supervisor
  • Business, Trade, Banking, and Finance are the biggest industries where sexual harassment occurs
  • 12% received threats of termination if they did not comply with their requests
  • 26,000 people in the armed forces were assaulted in 2012
  • 302 of the 2,558 cases pursued by victims were prosecuted
  • 38% of the cases were committed by someone of a higher rank

By gender a study from 1998 finds that,

  • 88.7% of rape victims are women, the other 11.3% being men
  • 17.6% of women have been victims of attempted (2.8%) or completed (14.8%) rape during their lifetime
  • 3% of men have been victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetime
  • 17.7 million women have been victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetime
  • 2.78 million men have been victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetime.

Different kinds of assaults

The different kinds of assaults include:

  • Rape—sexual intercourse against a person’s will
  • Forcible sodomy—anal or oral sex against a person’s will
  • Forcible object penetration—penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will
  • Marital rape
  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not
  • Incest (Sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion between family members.)
  • Any unwanted or coerced sexual contact

How to prevent sexual assault?

Sexual assault/rape can happen to anyone, and it’s never the victim’s fault. There is no specific way to prevent sexual assault, but there are many ways you can try and stay safe. 

  • Alcohol is a factor in almost all sexual assaults on college campuses.
  • Many perpetrators of sexual assault are someone the victim knows.
  • Sexual assaults can happen on a date or at a party.

It is really important to be aware of your surroundings and be with a group during late hours. Most sexual assaults happen during the night time, usually when people are alone.

After talking to a few people about the sensitive topic, there were many responses about the act being unfair. A Centreville high school student said she believes “It’s unfair that she has to walk around without feeling safe in her own neighborhood, the fear of being hurt is growing when different assault stories come out.” People have also pointed out that most assaults are not even reported due to different reasons. “Imagine all the people that were hurt, and didn’t have the courage to speak up” said another student. Sexual assaults in schools affect the victims ability to study, work, and learn in the environment. Leaving the victim unaware of what to do, these crimes sometimes go unreported causing the perpetrators to roam free. Although there are counselors and other adults set in schools for these victims to go to, victims who get assaulted by these adults feel unsafe and scared. When asked why do you think a person wouldn’t report an assault a response was “Probably because they are scared. Especially if an adult did it, they would think they themselves are going to get in trouble. Or maybe because they feel like it wouldn’t change anything, and they’d be embarrassed.” 

(Photo: The Associated Press)