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Get Educated about Sexual Assault to Help Break Silence

Opinion

Christinna Longenecker, Staff Writer

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Content Warning: The following editorial contains information regarding sensitive topics such as sexual assault, abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

 

1 out of every 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives. Let that sink in for a moment. Though it’s not just women that experience this; while females are typically more at risk, young boys and men are also assaulted.

In December of 2018, the owner of a local pub was arrested for sexually assaulting a young boy, throwing out the excuse that he intended to “prepare him” for his future experiences with women. He was later arrested, but the trauma that the boy must have endured during this experience will most likely never leave him.

“MORE THAN 300 PENNSYLVANIA PRIESTS ABUSED 1,000 CHILDREN OVER…”

“ANOTHER WOMAN COMES FORTH TO ACCUSE PA COP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT”

“NORRISTOWN FARM PARK SEXUAL ASSAULT WAS IN HIGH TRAFFIC AREA”

Three events, all in pennsylvania.

The internet holds so much information, far more than the human mind can truly handle. All it takes is a quick Google search to discover thousands of articles published in regards to sexual abuse, whether it be continual abuse or a one time assault.

Children are the faces of the future; meanwhile, right across the street from an elementary school- less than two years ago- a woman was raped in broad daylight. More on that later.

Some cases revolve around spite- a woman or man refusing to sleep with the perpetrator, so they take matters into their own hands- and some cases just sprout up due to the assailant’s inability to control themselves- a lack of morality.

You can most likely understand the problem with sexual assault as a whole. Sexual assault has lasting effects on survivors, creating burdens that the person will carry with them for a really long time, possibly forever- usually forever.

Studies have proven that many survivors undergo flashbacks of their assault and various other mentally degrading feelings- most of which morph into legitimate disorders such as PTSD or depression.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a psychological disorder–the most common after sexual assault–that is typically acquired after experiencing incredibly terrifying events such as abuse, rape, or an accident. Victims can have flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and an uncontrollable fixation on the event.

There is also the terrifying fear of forgetting major details in what happened. This is something that is common amongst many survivors of traumatic events, not just sexual assault victims.

After a tremendously stressful or terrifying event, your brain may begin to ‘hide’ the memories in order to keep itself from experiencing that feeling again. A study conducted on mice also shows that once placed in a similar situation, survivors’ memories may resurface.

One aspect that people must remain aware of is that sexual assault can present itself to nearly anyone, at any point in the day. Sadly, a local woman had experienced this while on a run in the Farm Park the summer of 2017.

Known Facts:

While a woman was on a run in the Farm Park, a very highly populated area, she was attacked by an unknown male and was raped. This occurred between 10:30 and 10:50 a.m on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 in broad daylight.

This atrocious act occurred in the middle of the day in an area where anyone could have seen. There is an elementary school right across the street from the Farm Park. What would have happened had the children seen that? What would have happened had not the man attacked a responsible, strong woman, but rather went after a child that was in the area? What kind of horror will that woman experience every day for the rest of her life?

The entire case is chilling.

I truly believe that if people were educated more on the topic and shown that it’s not something that should make them feel inferior, the number of silenced souls will decrease.”

Sexual abuse and assault is something that isn’t discussed enough amongst students, or even just people in general. Most teenagers, and even some working adults, probably wouldn’t know what steps to take if something dangerous such as rape had affected them personally. Children should be educated on this topic from as young as 3rd grade, so if there is any possibility of sexual abuse occurring at home, it can be dealt with sooner rather than later, and children are aware of just how far too far is.

Many people tend to hold off on coming forward about their experience. Denial, shame, hopelessness, and even the feeling of being labelled an outcast are all reasons that many survivors don’t come forward, but I truly believe that if people were educated more on the topic and shown that it’s not something that should make them feel inferior, the number of silenced souls will decrease.

There are numerous websites that provide users with free information about the predators in their area- people who have been charged in regards to sexual misconduct- and could possibly pose a threat to students or adults. On the other hand, these databases are not a reason to try and play vigilante warrior and attack these people. This could not only get you into trouble with the law but could even result in you being seriously injured or even killed.

People should remain aware and knowing of the events that could potentially plague them in the near future, and parents specifically should be educated on the pedophiles in their area for sake of their children. The numbers and statistics show just how serious sexual abuse/assault truly is, and the studies of the aftereffects go on to show that just one disgusting action can ruin someone’s life entirely.

If there’s one specific takeaway here, it’s that people need to be safe and aware. Many students believe that no one can touch them, but that’s not the case. Be safe rather than risk losing something valuable to who you are: yourself.

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About the Writer
Christinna Longenecker, Staff Reporter

Hello! I’m Christinna Longenecker, a first year Wingspan writer. I’m pretty much one of those faces that you pass in the hall but can’t put a name...

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Get Educated about Sexual Assault to Help Break Silence