Sunday, August 1, 2021

Fair jail sentences, first step toward justice

On a college campus, one in four women will be victims of sexual assault, according to an article from the Huffington Post. This is a number many of us have heard but usually push to the back of our minds because we never want to believe that “one” in four could be us.

Unfortunately, that fear has been turning into a terrible reality, as more women are being sexually assaulted on and off college campuses while receiving little to no justice in return for the crime inflicted upon them.

Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious young woman, was released from county jail Sept. 3 after serving three out of a sixth month sentence. The victim, who chooses to remain anonymous, read a letter she had wrote about her trauma to Turner just three months prior to his release.

“And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times,” the young woman said.

That sentence alone is enough to wonder why and how our society lets a despicable act such as sexual assault take place.

While terrible instances like this still occur, there have been changes to protect both men and women from becoming future victims, such as creating sex education classes, performing skits on addressing sexual assault and updating their codes of conduct on the matter, according to usnews.com.

“Knowledge is important, but it’s clear these programs don’t prevent people from perpetuating sexual violence,” behavioral scientist for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention Sara DeGue said.

Numerous schools such as Indiana University are having its orientation produce a musical that cuts through harmful gender stereotypes and sexual assault.

A victim of rape shouldn’t feel ashamed of what has happened to them, nor should they ever feel that it is their fault. Another victim of sexual assault, 15-year-old Chessy Prout, who was assaulted by a male senior at her school in 2014, is now showing her face in the hopes of supporting other victims.

“I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” Prout said.

In order to make the victims of sexual assault start to feel safe and prevent future assaults, the key is to take proactive measures. Despite these measures, rape is still a common occurrence, on and off campuses. While it’s important that no one should ever force or pressure a victim to speak about their trauma, it’s also crucial that we listen to a survivor when they choose to talk about what has happened to them.

If you or anyone you know that has been a victim of sexual assault, the local 24-hour hotline is 1-877-212-2323. The national hotline is 1-800-656-4673 which also features an online chat.
Stay safe.

Email Shania Savastio at shania.savastio@cardinalpointsonline.com

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