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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

America’s conversation about sexual assault is disgusting

Don’t be persuaded, this is unacceptable behavior.

Kevin Jackson, Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump have many things in common. But, the most disgustingly profound thing is their recent treatment of survivors. It takes immense strength to stand in front of anyone, let alone the world and tell your story. Then to be laughed at and called “skanks” by men in power, these responses are absolutely disgusting.

Where did our society learn women shouldn’t be believed? That whatever we said, we were to be met with threats and doubts of our sanity. Well, I learned this in elementary school and then again in middle school. But if I still had any doubts about how society viewed us, they were nailed into me yet again in high school. Our conversation about sexual violence must change now.

According to RAINN, every 98 seconds an American is a victim of sexual assault. Our nation’s conversations about sexual assault and violence have been overwhelmed with words of hate and doubt.

Why do people defend those accused of committing sexual violence so fervently? Yes, of course, I do believe there should be due process in this country. Yet I also know the justice system does not work in favor of those without power. Why is it that violence against women is met with more violence when she speaks about it? These are questions only our country’s history can answer.

Wealthy men get away with their actions, like Trump’s grab them by the pussy comment and now Kevin Jackson’s “lying skanks” comment. Nearly every day women deal with nasty slurs thrown at them. It is unacceptable for any man, let alone one with presidential power, to make these comments. Words are violent too.

When survivors tell their stories they are seen as liars, that their words are simply part of a grand plan to “ruin” someone’s life. This is assumed before there would ever be a trial, right out of the gate they are told to shut up about it.

It is not to be forgotten that men are also victims of sexual assault, yet this is not truly recognized. People ask, how is that possible? It is never called what it really is. Men, after all, are, according to our society, supposed to be the attackers, not the victims. Stigmas do not change the reality of sexual violence. It happens to people of all walks of life and gender identities.

Yet still, as a generalization, women are called sluts and whores, while men are called stupid and told they should be happy. This isn’t even including the abuse and doubt that Queer, non-binary and other individuals receive.

Fear is universal, threats are universal, sexual assault is universal. It needs to stop. We must raise ourselves and our next generations, not just to rally around survivors and believe them, but also to refuse the acceptance of sexual violence in any occurrence.

We must raise these humans not to simply learn how to avoid assault, but to never assault anyone in the first place. When I was young, I remember being told by people older than me, that the little boy who pushed me down and pulled my hair liked me. The violence he bestowed upon me was somehow a compliment because “boys aren’t sweet, they don’t know how to say they like you.”

For generations, we were raised this way. Women were raised to have blushing cheeks and smile even when a man yells. Whatever you do don’t cry, it will only make it worse.

While men were taught that they shouldn’t show their emotional feelings and that tenderness was a sign of weakness. Men were suppose to be aggressive and take what they wanted.

Despite how someone was raised; right and wrong ought to also be universal too. Every person you walk by has their own complex life and reality as equal and important as yours. No one owes you anything and suffering is not a price of love.

Do not fall into the trap. No matter where you are on the political spectrum you ought to be appalled by the behavior of these men and so-called leaders. If you aren’t, you need to do some serious soul-searching.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or @BayukRachael on Twitter.

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    Alex // Oct 15, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    I respectfully disagree with this article. No one human being has the ability to call what is right or wrong, truth or lie, evil or good, despite how they were raised.