Rape and Sexual Assault: A Social Epidemic




Rape and Sexual Assault. It's a hot topic on the news and social media lately, but, its nothing new. According to the CDC 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will experience rape at some time in their life. Those numbers are both staggering and unsettling, however considering how little education is invested in teaching sexual consent, it isn't surprising. Many people view a "no" as an invitation to convince the person they mean yes. Studies show that a staggering 18% of college students believe consent has been obtained as long as a person does not say "no" and 35 percent of sexual assault victims in a survey conducted by the Department of Justice in 2007 said they did not report the crime because it was “unclear that it was a crime or that harm was intended". With these kind of truths plainly researched and documented it begs the question.

Why are we not teaching consent in the School system? Why are we not teaching children about body autonomy and their right to say no?

As it stands many schools teach about good and bad touches and teaches them to say no to anything they aren't comfortable with, however, They do not teach them to respect others when they say no or stop. Even when children hit/unwanted touch other children many administrators go the route of "If you hit/unwanted touch others you will get into trouble" which only teaches children to deny what they have done and hide their actions better. When we teach children that their bodies are theirs and that it is wrong to do things to another persons body when they do not want you to, we teach them to respect the bodies and words of others. When we teach children to ask before touching, we teach them to respect the words and bodies of others and themselves. 

With the advent of videos like "consent tea" and others which teach consent without any sexual content, it again begs the question. WHY are we not exposing our children to consent both in the home and in schools? 

We must stop the cycle of confusion, we need to educate early on in life. Its embarrassing that my 8 year old son knows more about consent than a college student. We need to change society, one child at a time, and teaching consent is the key.

Maria Ruiz

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