By Zoey Jones
Date rape or acquaintance rape (sexual assault by somebody who you know) is sadly, very common in our day and age. It is estimated that one in four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted at some point during their lifetime. Not only that, but an astonishing sixty percent of college aged males claim that they would commit sexual assault if they were positive they would get away with it. Statistics like this are scary and sickening and a real wake-up call for young women. Women need to work together to ensure these statistics change and the good guys are separated from the bad guys.
The effects of date rape or any kind of sexual assault go far beyond the initial incident. Being sexually assaulted can be just as serious as physical injuries (which, by the way, a lot of women also get when they are sexually assaulted). Most incidents have an emotional effect on the victim, which can cause lasting anger, fear and an unwillingness to trust others. The residual effects often go on to influence their personal relationships for the rest of their lives. There is also a deep feeling of shame and fear that is left over once somebody is sexually assaulted and this is why 94% of sexual assaults go unreported. Victims feel ashamed and scared of what might happen to them if they go to the proper authorities. This is another scary and disheartening statistic because not only do the victims have to live with what happened to them for the rest of their lives, they also feel unable and unwilling to talk about what actually happened to them. This then allows the offenders to go unpunished and therefore see no repercussions for doing something so disgusting, offensive and wrong.
Most sexual assault attacks take place because the victim knows and trusts their attacker. 80% of women who are sexually assaulted in date or acquaintance rape know their assailant which makes the act even more distressing. This violation of trust causes the victim to become less trusting of people because somebody they knew did something so horrible to them.
I’m glad Alex is strong enough to accept what happened to her and is willing to do something about it. To actually go through with charging Dylan is going to be a difficult process. She’s going to have to re-live the event again and again in order to make sure that he gets what he deserves. It’s a strong act that is going to take a lot out of her but hopefully it can give other girls the strength to do the same thing if they should find themselves to be victims of assault.
If you find yourself in a situation that you feel could potentially become dangerous you should confront the person and leave as soon as you start feeling uncomfortable. If you’re at a party always make sure that you have a ride home with someone you know, don’t rely on acquaintances or people you’ve just met.
If the unthinkable happens and you find yourself to be the victim of rape the first thing to do afterwards is go to a hospital. It may seem like a hard thing to do at the time and it’s going to take a lot of courage but the doctors can help you. Your attacker may have left evidence like hair, fabric, semen or blood that can be used against him. Once the doctors have done what they need to do, you can call the police from there.
I can’t do anything for Alex now other than offer her my support and friendship. I don’t know how she could possibly bounce back from something like this. The thought of it is even too much for me to bear. My thoughts are with her and I hope that she knows that if she needs anything, I’m here to help her.