Here is Why we need new legislation to protect young women from the very real threat of sexual assault:
One in five women will be sexually assaulted during their time in college. Sadly, many of those cases will go un-prosecuted and, in many cases, women will never even contact law enforcement.
CEO Andrea Miller from YourTango, the premier media company dedicated exclusively to love and relationships, says “Women often wrongly believe that they are to blame for their sexual assault. This is no surprise considering we live in a culture where rape is made light of and where rape victims are continually put on trial for their actions. It’s time for people to understand that it does not matter how much a woman had to drink or what she was wearing, sexual assault is never okay.”
California legislators are seeking to help curb the rape epidemic on college campuses by more clearly defining what sexual assault actually is. Dubbed the ‘yes means yes’ law, it’s meant to help people understand that rape can occur in many different situations.
Miller explains, “Some people are arguing against this legislation because they say that sexual assaults on campus are greatly exaggerated. This is simply laughable. The reality is that these numbers don’t even begin to tell the whole story, because many women do not report being sexually assaulted. In many cases, they don’t know they have even been sexually assaulted. This is because they think that if they didn’t say ‘no,’ or fight back and scream, then it wasn’t rape. Not so.”
Miller explains that many of these common scenarios are actually sexual assault:
• It’s still rape if…you were drunk. If you are so drunk or high that you are unable to stand, walk, talk, or otherwise behave normally, you cannot consent to sex and it is rape.
• It’s still rape if…he is your boyfriend. It doesn’t matter if he is a new guy or someone you have been dating for years. If you didn’t consent, it’s still rape…even if he is your husband, even if you are in love, even if he is a ‘nice guy’ and a popular, handsome guy on campus. “Rapists don’t always look like the masked man on the corner with a gun,” says Miller, “Most of the time they are actually someone you know and trust.”
• It’s still rape if…you consented to foreplay. Just because you wanted to make out doesn’t mean you have consented to have sex. Unless you explicitly make it clear that you want to things to move forward, it is rape.
• It’s still rape if…you had prior sex with him. What if you had consensual rape with him earlier in the night, but didn’t want to do so again and he forced you? “Yes, that is still rape,” says Miller.
• It’s still rape if…you were passed out, asleep, or otherwise incoherent. “Unless you can consent, it’s rape and it should be prosecuted,” declares Miller.
Miller concludes, “It is sad we live in a culture where these things have to be defined as rape because people are so unaware of what sexual assault really looks like. However, it’s clear that this education and legislation is sorely necessary. It’s time we stop blaming the victims and stop putting the onus on women to prevent their own rapes by essentially telling them to stay home and to blame themselves at every turn. The way to prevent rape is by stopping rapists, not by shaming or mocking victims. Colleges have unfortunately dropped the ball in prosecuting rape and protecting their students, so it is high time the government steps in and makes it clear that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this country. ”