On a cold night in January 2015, two students of Stanford University came across a freshman who was sexually assaulting an unconscious, half-naked woman behind a dumpster. That freshman was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. This month he was sentenced to 6 months in jail. 6 months for assaulting a stranger as she lay unconscious. The victim doesn’t remember anything about the attack or that she was found curled up in the fetal position after she had been violated by her attacker.
Like Lena Dunham says in her powerful film,
“we might not know her name but she is someone”.
She is a woman who was attacked when she was vulnerable. Someone’s daughter and someone’s sister. More importantly she was someone in her own right. A woman with hope and ambition. In our society we can be quick to judge when we should be listening. Lena Dunham and her co-stars cite CDC (Center for Disease Control) statistic that says
“one in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime”
In the film the group say that they hope to“represent the solidarity and support all survivors should be able to find”. In England only 15% of those who have suffered a sexual assault choose to report it to the police. We have to look at why 85% choose not to report their crime. One of the main reasons is shame. For decades women and men haven’t revealed their sexual assault to friends let alone the police. Our society is at fault. As a woman we are told not to put ourselves at risk; not to walk home alone at night, not to get drunk and not to wear clothes that are deemed revealing. As a mum I believe that we should live in a world where my daughters will be able to walk home alone at night free from fear of attack, they should be able to have some drinks free from fear of attack and if they want to wear a short skirt then they should be able to do so, free from fear of attack. After all we live in a civilised society, don’t we? Apparently not and there have been a few high-profile cases that have demonstrated this. Cases where the victim has been too drunk to give her consent.
Being drunk doesn’t mean that you are asking for it, no, it means that you are a vulnerable woman.
A drunk woman is not a play thing and she is not a piece of meat, she is a someone.
As a society we cannot continue to turn a blind eye when someone is sexually assaulted, we cannot continue to make excuses for why it happened. We need to support and we need to listen. We need to educate that sexual assault is never ok. That it doesn’t matter what clothes they are wearing or how many drinks they have had,
rape is never ok.
We need to listen to the victims, we need to give the victims a voice. Watch and listen to the powerful video below to see how we can make a difference.