Column: Chisme con Carolina


According to Fairfax County government website, nearly one in two adult women and one in four adult men have experienced unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime.

Sexual assault is a topic that is talked about with such caution that most people choose to ignore it. With that being said, most cases of sexual assault go unreported.

The National Library of Medicine conducted a study of 158 females who attempted suicide. Fifty percent of them reported being sexually abused at some point in their life.

Studies have shown that sexual assault survivors show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, psychosis, and drug abuse.

With the impact sexual violence takes on a victim, it would be expected for there to be great protocols taken in order to protect and support individuals.

While many places of employment and education have harassments policies which they follow during reports of sexual assault, not many offer care or any follow-up with the victim.

Many establishments have a handbook in which they state sexual violence is prohibited and or will not be tolerated, but they don’t commonly state possible consequences and or laws to support their stance.

Cases go unreported over fear of the assaulter and the implications of being a victim.

There is a negative way many are conditioned to think of sexual assault in regard to the victims.

Common phrases used against victims are: “What were you wearing?” “Did you say no?” and “You were asking for it.”

Clothing is commonly the first target of a victim.

In 2014, an exhibit called “What were you wearing?” debuted at the University of Arkansas. The purpose of the exhibit was to dispel the victim-blaming myth that clothing in some way invites sexual assault. Since then the exhibit has grown drastically.

Throughout the exhibit, different clothing can be seen. Within the exhibit, there is children’s clothing, work uniforms, et cetera.

The way sexual violence is approached in today’s world is a likely factor in why many choose to not report it.

We live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving, although it seems as though we are stuck socially.

There is a common phrase, “If you are uncomfortable with something, then change it.” The way sexual assault is approached needs to be changed. That change can be as simple as educating those with high positions in government, places of work, and even schools on how to properly approach conversations with victims.