by T.L. Burgess
The Existential Crisis
America is experiencing a ‘what is happening’ feeling right now. People are realizing that men of power have been getting away with inexcusable harassment to the ‘lesser sex’ – welcome to male privilege. Since the uproar from our recent presidential election, Americans have been shocked to find that there is a serious cultural issue in this country. The country is run by rich males who are allowed to do whatever they want without any serious consequences.
Celebrities are individuals who are seen as role models. Often their actions in their personal lives are connected with their professional work if it appears they have a typical American life. Things like watching children grow up, buying a new house and getting married or divorced are all hot topics but a person is a person. Celebrities are not inherently ‘good people’ simply because the life you see in the magazines suggest it. Yet, there is always this upheaval when you realize that someone with so much power, and money and influence could do something so horrible for so long.
What Can be Done?
Yes, one issue is that people don’t report. Victim shaming is very much a contributor to this. Another issue is that traumatic experiences such as sexual assault often happens more than once. A perpetrator is likely to become a repeat offender if their victim does not report. What about the issue of privilege? Is there a reason why celebrities and Presidents get a free pass? Of course there is, because with great power comes great privilege and the safety of women under such power are inconsequential. How can we empower women, how can we empower men to use and not abuse their power, and when will consequences be equal across the board, regardless of power and money and privilege?
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For several decades now, gender equality has been an everyday subject in the whole world. Women and men who are aspiring to be in power, consistently advocate for the reduction of discrepancies that exists between male and females.
They include pay gap, fight for paid leave, the increase in the minimum wage, defense and enhancement of social security, protection and expansion of affordable care Act and most importantly confrontation of violence against women.
Having a look at the two American presidential aspirants and their stand against sexual assaults and their view on women’s equal opportunities, Hillary Clinton was keen to point out the fact that 20% of the American women experience sexual assault in college.
To make the matter worse 22% experience severe physical violence by their intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Hillary Clinton said that the time to address the issue has come and bold plans are underway to do that should she secure to top seat at the White house, citing her record on fighting against gender injustice.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has assured the best to cab the violence against sexual assault against women. He boasted that he is the best thing that ever happened to women. This statement triggered mixed reactions among millions of women and media too.
He meant his word, having the public opinion polls stating that an extraordinary number of female voters registered a negative or unfavorable impression of the Trump’s candidacy. However, Trump’s campaign manager insisted that women do not vote based on gender but the competency of the aspirant.
The two 2016 presidential candidates have had their say on a better dawn that is approaching for women once they are in power. It has been a story for decades. Let us wait and see.
Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race or sexual orientation. Sexual assault is a wide range of forced as well as unwanted sexual activity such as groping, kissing, exhibitionism just to name but a few. Sexual assault unreasonably affects college women as well as impedes their capability to participate entirely in campus life. Promoting awareness helps to make campuses safe for all students.
As a point of fact, educational equity for women and girls requires reasonable, fully developed campus sexual assault policies, responsive as well as knowledgeable administrators who can ultimately end sexual violence on campus. Peer Health Education programs increase awareness about rape, sexually coercive behavior as well as potential rape situations while decreasing the recognition of rape myths. Ideally, this program educates women about campus sexual assault and how they can be part of the solution.
Regular discussions of consent, the basics of healthy relationships as well as the role of alcohol during orientation help to upset potential harmful situations. It is evident that only 5% of campus sexual assaults are reported. As a point of fact, students are the ones who can make a difference in their minds of other students in order to make a change towards this potentially tragic behavior pattern.
It is essential for the college to develop as well as implement training programs for female freshmen that involve resistance and self-defense strategies. The approach that focuses on changing campus culture help to authorize students to address these assault issues as well as develop the type of campus life in which they think they can and will prosper socially, expressively and academically.
In conclusion, college students are capable and have the power as well as authority to prevent sexual assault. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the college to provide standards for disciplinary procedures covering sexual assault while addressing the issue in order to stop this crime.