Shut your mouth

Societal pressure often keeps women quiet in cases of sexual assault


Photo by Emily Meinzer

Many sexual assault victims are shamed into silence.

Story by Lindsey Egger, staff writer

Rape is the most under-reported crime in America; 63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.

Hundreds of millions of women and girls are abused and harassed daily. Women are told to keep quiet after being assaulted, and when they do speak up, society blames the victim, making them feel ashamed. It’s much “easier” to keep it to yourself than to get strangers involved.

You can tell the situation is bad when our judges, the people that are supposed to give us justice, tell victims they were “asking for it” after being raped.

Judge Robin Camp asked a rape victim, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” This is only telling our society members that it is okay to sexualy harrass women because they “want it to happen.” There is not enough people speaking up for our daughters, our mothers, and our sisters to stop what is becoming a common thing.

We are taught as young girls about the dangers of the world, making us grow up faster and constantly having to think about what could happen to us at the back of our minds. Our movies teach us to wait to be rescued by our male heroes. This is why women today typically feel vulnerable in society, unable to speak up against their abusers because they’re scared of what others will think of them.

Maybe women feel the need for silence because our law enforcement doesn’t take rape as seriously as they should.

Brock Turner, “the Stanford rapist,” raped an unconscious woman by a dumpster and got sentenced to six months in prison and was released on “good behavior.” Apparently being well-mannered in prison makes up for the physical and emotional toll he caused that woman to have for the rest of her life. How are victims supposed to trust that society has their best interest at mind when they let people like Turner get away with rape in order to protect his future?

The only way we can get people to speak up is to make them feel safe–to start showing sympathy and less sexism towards victims in court and to fight for their justice. The next victim could be your sister or mother, and they’ll be the ones afraid for the rest of their lives unless we help them speak up.