We stand with sexual assault victims

The Wichitan

OUR VIEW: No matter the circumstances, victims of sexual assault should feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their story.

Harvey Weinstein. Matt Lauer. Kevin Spacey. Donald Trump.

Regardless of political party affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, race, etc., there’s no denying that all four of these household names have been accused of sexual misconduct, harassment and/or assault in the last three months. And those are just a few names that have been in the headlines lately.

It takes an incredible strength and courage for victims to come forward and report such a traumatic violation of their basic human rights. So for some to say it’s “a bit of a witch hunt,” like actor Liam Neeson, is ludicrous, ignorant and part of the reason behind why we have victim-shaming in our culture. And administrators at MSU can learn from this behavior.

In spring 2017, there were five sexual assaults reported on campus, and those are just the ones that victims reported. According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported. That means two out of three go unreported which can only leave us with the idea that there were more sexual assaults on campus in the last year that went unreported.

Some of the reasons behind why victims choose not to report are out of our control; we cannot force someone to report what happened to them. We cannot be there to stop every single assault. But what we can do — and what we should have been doing — is prevent victim-shaming.

If someone said they’ve been sexually assaulted, do not ask him/her what they were wearing, how much they were drinking or if they were asking for it. None of those details matter, because he/she was never asking for it, no matter their clothes or blood alcohol content. Let us show victims the kindness, compassion and understanding they deserve, instead of brushing their cries for help off as their assailants did.