Before I begin, I would like to caution the reader that this topic deals with very sensitive material about sexual assault. If you have found yourself in a situation like this or are currently dealing with this experience and do not feel comfortable reading this article, please refer to other posts, I understand.
On Tuesday, the White House released a PSA announcement about sexual assault (video down below). It bothers me that this video only has 533,000 views and 840 dislikes. To some, only 17.6% of ratings being dislikes does not sound too high, but you have got to wonder why there are any dislikes to a video like this at all? Although I understand the comments section is not an accurate way to decipher why it has so many dislikes, I have noticed many people have not liked the video because Obama makes an appearance in the video. It strikes a nerve that people can be so fickle simply because one particular individual is seen in this video. By no means do I want this to become a conversation about politics, but viewers need to wake up and actually pay attention to the message behind the video. I am a firm believer this video needs to shared more to the public, so I am dedicating this post the the issue of sexual assault.
Working in student affairs, I often hear stories about "last night". Female students pass me in the hallway while talking to their girlfriends about how they made a "huge mistake" and slept with a guy after too many drinks. Before I go any further, I do realize this also happens to men sometimes, but considering the statistics, 1 out of every 4 female students have been sexually assaulted whereas only 1 out of every 20 male students have been sexually assaulted. Both of these numbers are alarming and the truth of the matter is that these are probably lower than the reality because many cases are not even reported. I have heard this same story too many times and I have had enough! I challenge you to make a pledge with me to hinder this from happening any further.
There are so many ways to prevent sexual assault. First and foremost, it is important to be a true friend. Volunteer to be the designated driver in the group and realize this role does not end with the transportation aspects. By being the sober one in a group, it is your job to monitor the alcohol usage of your friends and ensure they are stopped at the right time. Familiarize yourself with the definitions of binge drinking and learn how two beers hold a different number of servings than two glasses of "hunch punch" or any other type of liquor or wine. Keep tabs on your friends for the entirety of the party, your job is not finished until you get them safely back home. Sometimes this job has to make the difficult decisions as well. Although your friend may be saying "yes" to a guy, if they have had alcohol, their judgement is impaired and this does not qualify as consent. Yes you might be the party pooper, but you just saved your friend from a case of sexual assault and they will thank you the next day. Familiarize yourself with self-defense techniques and surround yourself with people you trust, the more people to keep tabs on you, the better. Research has shown approximately 2/3rds of rape cases were committed by someone known by the victim. By no means am I saying "do not trust anyone", but stay in a group, there is always strength in numbers.
From someone who has a sister, two female cousins and many female friends who I also consider to be family, I beg you to take a stand and become an advocate for what is right. Sexual Assault is not a joke nor is it a mistake. Be a part of the solution and become an agent of change. One truly is too many.