It is necessary to recognize sexual assault awareness month

Sexual assualt awareness must continue beyond April.

Hannah Dilanchyan, Opinions Editor

There is a reason why women around the world wear denim in April. In 1992, an 18-year-old woman was raped by her driver’s education instructor in Italy. The case was thrown out because the Italian Supreme Court ruled her jeans were so tight she must have helped take them off and consented to having sex, Denim Day reports. This ridiculous ruling sparked outrage across the globe. 

Unfortunately, instances like this are incredibly common. In the United States alone, 1 in 6 women have been victims of attempted or completed rape—1 in every 10 rape victims are men, according to RAINN. These high rates show that there is an epidemic of sin that has created fear, pain and shame. 

Dedicating a month to sexual assualt awareness provides resources and healing for victims and holds criminals accountable. Approximately 85% of sexual assault cases are not reported, ABC reports. Many survivors do not report their case because shame and fear are often involved, The Wall Street Journal reports. The criminal justice system has also failed survivors. The severe lack of reporting sexual assault reveals that greater awareness must be achieved and those who have experienced sexual assault need more support. 

BE AWARE 

The first step toward prevention is awareness. Being aware of the signs, warnings, aftermath and crime rates helps people to engage with the needs of their loved ones, as well as incorporate greater empathy in their relationships. 

“Educating yourself on the issues surrounding sexual assault can also prepare you on how to respond if a victim decided to trust you with their story and needed advice or help,” ABC writes. “It’s important that when talking about sexual assault awareness, that we also touch on things like sexual harassment, which is an issue happening not just in person, but online.” 

There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual overreach. Each person is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. 

On its Instagram, Biola lists five rideshare reminders to keep students safe—stick together, chick-in with a friend when going places, be cautious when going somewhere at night, be sure to trust feelings and check the ride’s license plate and name. 

FINDING HEALING  

Christians must foster an environment of healthy conversation, no judgment and grace. Ecclesiastes 3 exhorts believers to establish a posture of love and time—to mourn with those who mourn, to identify when there comes a time for war and a time for peace. When Christians do this, they can properly respond to difficult circumstances—even if all they do is sit and listen to someone who has been hurt. Establishing a greater awareness of sexual assault, allows Christians to do this well. 

For those who have survived the trauma that comes from assault, know that the Biola community offers deep love and support. 

For resources, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or Biola’s Campus Safety at (562) 777-4000.

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