Being aware

Rape and violence against women on the rise

By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor

The year 2017 may bring many wonderful things that no one yet knows about because the year has just begun. One major thing that should be left in 2016 though is the alarming rate at which violence against women, including rape, is rising. The worst feeling in the world is not being able to feel safe while walking outside even in one’s own neighborhood or the school parking lot. It is quickly becoming a new reality for most women young and old that there is much to fear in the outside world, one of the main fears involving safety. The year 2017 can be a better year for women though by stopping the violence against women. Part of this is by being aware, knowing how to protect one’s self and reporting incidents when they occur.

lc-column-photo_jsutweb-com

One in five women will be raped at some point in their life as compared to one in 71 men. (Image from fastweb.com)

According to Amnesty International violence against women is any kind form of being beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise being abused. Violence against women is rooted in the global culture that denies women equal rights with men. This culture legitimizes the appropriation of the female body for individual gratification and political means, especially recently within the United States. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) one in five women will be raped at some point in their life as compared to one in 71 men. Also 91 percent of rape victims are female. It is projected that within the next five years these statistics could sadly go up if action is not taken.

A main reason that violence and rape is hard to curb is because many will not report the incident out of fear or embarrassment because they feel the incident is their fault. A major contribution to this stigma is due to the “banter” culture where rape is seen as a joke and violence is shown as being forgivable or okay when it truly is a criminal offense.

Another issue with the rape culture is that it is thought that by reporting an incident and getting a police report, the process takes so long that nothing will happen. Many rape kits take a long time to process and many cities, such as Detroit, for example, have thousands of unprocessed rape kits because the city does not have enough finances or workers to process them. It costs slightly over $300 per kit to process. This then leads to more money being spent on police investigations and court cases that many cities simply cannot afford so they set the kits aside to be forgotten.

This new cultural view that mistreating a woman’s body in any form is okay is absolutely horrifying. It is unsettling the lengths some women must go to just to feel safe in society against others. It is not impossible to get into a comfortable state of mind and feel safe. It does take work however.

sexual-assault-column-photo-2_bukh-law-firn

Taking self defense classes can put your mind at ease. (Image from Bukh Law Firm)

The first thing is to constantly be aware of surroundings. If one has a gut feeling that something isn’t right or they sense danger, they probably are right and should get out of that area or situation as quickly as possible.

Another great way for one to take control and feel safer in their surroundings is to learn how to protect one’s self. This could mean carrying pepper spray or always walking in groups when possible. Both are very smart ideas. Also taking a self-defense class or learning a fighting style such as Karate or Tai Kwan Do can put one’s mind to ease a bit more. It is a good skill set to have even if it is never needed.

Finally, always report incidents that occur. It will help to hopefully get these criminals off the streets and keep others safe. Reporting also needs to be done because it can get one help they may need without realizing it, such as medical attention or counseling. Many victims of violent attacks or sexual assault face post-traumatic stress disorder and have other mental or physical effects that may develop later too.

One should never have to fear leaving the house and going outside, but with violence against women on the rise it sadly is a reality that many now face. Staying alert, learning defensive and preventative measures, and reporting incidents when they occur can help to lower this risk.

Make 2017 a better year for women and work together to keep each other safe.