Fredonia is perpetuating a rape culture

CLAIRE O’REILLY

Life & Arts Editor

 

In light of recent events relating to sexual assault in Hollywood and in our own backyards right here in Fredonia, I struggle to find the right way to express just how I am feeling.

If I had to sum it up: helpless, outraged, sad.

I have engaged in countless debates and discussions regarding sexual assault, and honestly? It shouldn’t have to be up for debate.

Rape is wrong. Sexual harassment is wrong. Sexual assault is wrong. Relationship abuse is wrong.

We all know this. I sincerely hope there is no one out there that would ever attempt to form an argument against this. So why does it keep happening?

Every time we silence a victim, every time we shame a victim, every time we say, “I know them. They would never do that” about the accused, we are feeding an unruly, disgusting beast.

Rape culture thrives in our country, and Fredonia is not immune.

When a student on our campus is brought to the attention of the school numerous times regarding sexual assault accusations, and that student remains on our campus, our university has failed us.

Universities often shy away from the spotlight when it comes to sexual assault. They don’t want to deal with sexual assault because it sheds an unflattering light on the school and paints a less-than-attractive image.

We need to understand and accept that sexual assault happens in Fredonia. There are students here who have been sexually assaulted, and there are students here who have committed sexual assault.

We need to use our voices and make it clear that sexual predators have no place in our community. We cannot allow them to slither in the shadows simply because we stood by and did nothing.

Our silence does not hold rapists accountable. Our silence does not give victims the justice that they deserve. Our silence does absolutely nothing other than let abusers continue to abuse.

Change is never going to come to a community that lives in denial.

My heart aches for those of you who have been brave enough to share your stories. I am with you, I hear you and I support you. It’s time everyone else does the same.

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