Staff Editorial 11/17 Society perpetuates sexual abuse by invalidating victims’ accusations
In a twisted way, it is as if sexual abuse is trending nowadays.
Every day, you can turn on the TV to see yet another headline accusing yet another individual of power taking advantage of girls and women in their most vulnerable states. Within the past month, accusations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, former team USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, and Republican nominee Roy Moore have surfaced, and if true, the trio would combine for a criminal list encompassing possession of child pornograhy, sexual contact with a minor, sexual harassment and rape.
And those are only names worthy of a time slot on the national news.
All across the country men are exploiting their power over women, violating their bodies and taking away any dignity they had. Of course, men are susceptible to this injustice as well, and it is not to say a woman can not be a sex offender; however, the crime undeniably sees more female victims than male. According to RAINN.org, 90 percent of rape victims are female.
And, it is never just one time.
Weinstein and Nassar face tens and even hundreds of accusations of sexual assault. Five percent of sex offenders are arrested for another sex related crime within three years of being released from jail, so imagine how many repeat their offense, having never been arrested in the first place. Yet even with hundreds of women speaking up against these serial offenders, our society can not seem to believe a single one of them.
Along with many other factors, a woman’s fear of losing her position is what makes her hush up. Weinstein met with young up and coming actresses who were hoping to make it big as the actresses that had worked with Weinstein before them had. Even when the discussion crossed the line of professionalism, they did not stand up for themselves out of fear that in doing so, they would toss away years of hard work to get them to that moment.
The majority of the accusations against Nassar detail Nasaar performing invasive vaginal procedures without wearing a glove. Most of his accusers claim they were around the age of 13 or 14 when the incidents began. As 13 and 14 year olds, these girls had no reason to not trust Nassar. They were told he was the best the nation could offer, that he was just doing his job.
And unfortunately, our society has shown it is able to overlook such accusations and continue to put these individuals in positions of power, something Moore, who has been accused of raping a 14 year old girl, is certainly thrilled to know as he continues to campaign for a seat in the senate.
In doubting the validity of victims accusations, we allow offenders to continue their predaceous actions, we allow mothers, daughters, students, athletes to continue to be vulnerable to such a heinous action, and we allow them to continue to struggle with its lifelong effects. According to RAINN.org, victims of sexual assault are six times more likely to use cocaine than the general public, 94 percent experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within two weeks of being raped, 33 percent contemplate suicide, 13 percent attempt it.
While a female student at Mason High School likely will not come into contact with Weinstein, Nassar or Moore, it is likely that she will come into contact with someone with their history. Women in college ages 18-24 are three times more likely to be sexual abused than the general population, according to RAINN.org. This issue is easy to dismiss when the headlines seem so far away, but the reality is, nobody is immune from it, which is why we can not continue to put predators in a position to prey.
The list will continue to pile up. The number of women feeling as if it is their fault that they were sexually abused will continue to add up. The number of young daughters who will live the rest of their life feeling as if their body does not deserve to be respected will continue to grow. But, the number of Americans who doubt their accusations does not have to.