Sexual assault is a very large topic, and when trying to brainstorm and develop options on how to best deal with it, can be a bit overwhelming. Sexual assault happens at school, work, home, parties, streets, public places… it can happen essentially anywhere, to anyone – no matter their age or gender. The harsh truth is there are almost endless scenarios in which one could potentially become a victim of sexual assault. Considering that, and the fact that sexual assaults are still increasing yearly, there are a lot of potential options to be discussed and considered.
One being that we work towards better educating our society on sexual assault, starting as early as middle school in public education. This will create a universal platform to educate kids on what to look out for, and how to deal with, sexual assault.
Another option would be for accused assaulters to receive longer sentences and harsher punishments, if found guilty. This can be a bit tricky, as many sexual assaults and rapes, have little to no proof if there is no DNA or witnesses to be accounted for. There are people all for this to be put into motion, but there are also some who aren’t too sure. One reason is that this will increase the number of incarcerations, when it is a goal to try and end mass incarceration. (Lopez, 2016) The problem with this mindset, is that it gives off the impression that as a nation, ending mass incarceration is a bigger and more important matter, than convicting rapists and sexual assaulters who brutally and selfishly force themselves on to others. That is a crime that leaves lasting effects on the victim.
Looking at the option of taking all rape accusations to court is another one that is a bit tricky, because again, not all assaults have proof. This causes people to believe that the victim is lying, despite that being true for only 2 to 10 percent of rape allegations. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2015) Regardless, without proof, witnesses or something for the courtroom to hang on to, there is no case, which ends up just being a waste of time and money, and honestly an experience that the victim probably is not eager to go through.
Lastly, it is certainly to be considered to use our means as a nation, to create more and better resources for victims of rape and sexual assault. Incidents of such nature have lasting effects on its victims, looking through statistics you’ll find that after their attack, they suffer from depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, drug abuse, and severe distress – just to name a few. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2015) What we also have to consider, is there are many men and women who have been sexually assaulted and raped, but never tell anyone. So, they aren’t even considered in these already high numbers. This option of opening centers nationwide, giving a safe space for victims to heal, both mentally and physically, will hopefully encourage them to speak out and seek proper treatment. If this is put into place, it would be necessary to have professionals trained in this area of expertise, to create, develop and work at these centers.
Lopez, G. (2016, September 1). The justice system needs to take rape more seriously. That doesn’t mean longer prison sentences. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2016/9/1/12652758/rape-prison-mass-incarceration.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2015). Statistics About Sexual Violence.