No Means No!

No Means No!

Ava Scalia, Staff Writer

This is a message for anyone suffering, living in ignorance or eager to know more. Sexual assault… Yeah, I just went there…. Many people aren’t aware of the inappropriate actions being taken towards and around them. In this day and age, kids are taught to overlook and blur out the bad in life, but that is simply unacceptable. 

“Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.” 

There are many people who want to act as though it’s alright. That merely touching someone inappropriately without their consent is okay. Groping a person without allowing room for consent is and always will be sexual assault. Females are commonly known as the victim in statistics involving assault. While this is true, don’t let yourself forget that men can also be sexually abused. No means no. Just because a man said it doesn’t make the words lose meaning. 

People often tend to overlook the mention of sexual assault because they don’t truly process the information they’ve heard, but it is happening everywhere, even in small towns such as Harleton. 

Don’t let ignorance or others make you think that assault is a small and insignificant thing. Many people may not be as educated in the subject as they should be, sometimes acting as though it doesn’t happen. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually abused. Sure does sound like this rape culture/sexual assault epidemic is anything but nonexistent. On average, there are 433,648 victims (aged 12 and older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Think about that. Those numbers are ONLY counting the assaults in America, where we have rights. 

So how do we stop this? If we’re being realistic, we can’t. We can’t control every person living on this Earth. What we are able to do is spread awareness and shine a light on the darkness of the situation to bring a sense of hope for those burrowed in despair. Here are some ways to spread awareness: 

  • Speak out! Talk about it in daily conversation. Get the issue out in the open. Your fear of sounding weird may prohibit someone from ever truly understanding the seriousness of this issue. 
  • Talk to your significant other and set boundaries for what you are willing (or not willing) to do. Many people will allow their loved ones to actively pursue them with things that make them uncomfortable or afraid. 
  • Make sure to support each other. If you know of someone being sexually abused, let them know you are there to help. Contact the proper authorities and be there for the person. If that person is you, just know that there are so many people out there willing and able to help. HHS staff and students will always be here to offer support, and you can contact HHS at 903-777-2372. If you don’t feel comfortable enough, contact an authority within the school or RAINN at 800-656-HOPE. The latter will connect you to a local sexual assault provider in your area. 
  • It is highly important to stay educated. Keep up-to-date with the news, no matter how boring it might seem, and make yourself stay aware of everything that goes on. Don’t trick yourself into thinking the world is safe and nothing bad could ever happen to you. 
  • Social media is a great way to share the message! Instead of using your socials for vain and superficial topics, really use your voice to lay out all of the truth. This issue is important to bring up, not because it makes you look better but because it actually does plant a seed in other people’s minds. Who knows, maybe your Instagram post could change someone’s life for the better.