One in five girls on a college campus will be either a victim of rape or of attempted rape. This statistic is tossed around so often that many of us have become used to it; we don’t realize exactly how drastic that number is. One in five.This means that every single person knows someone that has been assaulted or, God forbid, has been assaulted themselves. Maybe we don’t know who we know that has been a victim of this—understandably, many women want to keep their attacks private—but chances are, we all know someone.
This week is C.A.R.E Week at BC, a week dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault and showing support for those who have become victims of it. Last night was their main event of the week, Take Back the Night. It was wonderful to see how many people attended the event.
To those who chose to share their stories with us, I think I speak for every audience member when I say thank you for your courage and strength. Statistics can only garner so much of a reaction from people. What will truly inspire people to be proactive is understanding that sexual assault is real, everyone is affected by it, and its victims are not just a number. You have helped make that happen.
Their extraordinarily moving stories were not the only notable part of TBTN, however. There was also a small talk given on bystander intervention; what it is, and how important it can be in any situation. As a community, we all stood up in support of those who have been affected by sexual assault, whether directly or indirectly, and made a pledge to be proactive in regards to rape culture, and how we can work to remove it from our society, bit by bit.
One group that showed their support was the men of ROTC. They stood up to pledge that, as soldiers in training, they would take their dedication to the protection and service of our country, and work to protect those around them. They described to the audience what constitutes consent, and what always asking for consent entails.
It was wonderful to see young men who are part of a prominent group on campus stand up to support and protect victims of sexual assault and to raise awareness about bystander intervention.
A lot of people often don’t understand why C.A.R.E. Week is so important, but the entire premise of Take Back the Night was for all of us, everyone affected in some way by sexual assault, to take back the night, fight back the darkness with solidarity and support.
One in five is a terrifying statistic, and as a female on a college campus, I admit that it scares me. But together we can raise awareness about bystander intervention, educate people on what defines consent, and help people see that sexual assault affects everyone, not just its direct victims.