Speak Out Against Rape & Sexual Assault

By Kati Scarlett

NOTE: This entry was originally posted at Big Eyes, Bright Lights.

Two words: Spring Break. When you think of this luxurious week off of your academic and work related responsibilities you may think of the moments when you may have gotten “shit-faced” with your friends, gone bar hopping or traveling. Sight-seeing, or raving. Gone to music festivals or maybe just watching Netflix or gaming. This past spring break I had the awesome pleasure to attending Panama City Beach, Florida, with my friends, otherwise known as PCB. A live place for college students to celebrate our week of freedom, and man was it a memorable one. It is known as one of the hottest destinations for college students and it did not disappoint.

The crowds on the beaches

The crowds on the beaches

Best alarm clock ever! The hotel I stayed at played music from the Lion King every day at 11am to start the day.

I met a LOT of amazing people and spent all day at the beach, oftentimes plastered, with my friends, dancing to the tunes from our live DJ. At night I was either sitting in a hot tub/swimming in the pool under a blanket of stars with the sound of waves in the background, or dancing on the patio of my room to the music of that awesome DJ who wouldn’t cut off the music until 3 or 4am. It was literally a place where I could stay forever. Or so I thought.

A couple of days ago, a video surfaced from a person’s phone of a gang rape that occurred that spring break in broad daylight at the same beach where I was celebrating the days away with friends. These beaches are crowded with hundreds of people, yet in the video not a single passerby tried to stop what they were witnessing; some even paused to watch these four men rape a girl so drunk she was blacked out. What’s even more horrible, CNN reported that the girl involved was watching the news and contacted authorities when she recognized her tattoos in the blurred video shown on television. She was so inebriated she did not even know what had happened to her. Talk about a nightmare.

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1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted during their time in college and every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus. Of the college women who are raped, only about 10% report them. People claim to be understanding of the statistics, and universities hold days or months for sexual assault awareness. We CLAIM to do so much yet not even a single person out of the hundreds at that beach reported what was happening. Not a single person.

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only 3%…rape culture??

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I was a freshman who had only been in school for a few months when I was sexually assaulted. I was so drunk I had passed out on my friend’s bed, only to have one of her friends come in during the middle of the night. I was so inebriated it was hard to open my eyes much less move, but I somehow found the strength to move from his grasp and stumble out of the room into the arms of my roommate. The only thing I could muster to her was “get him out.” This man was trusted by all of my friends, and even me. I could not imagine what this girl went through, having no one stop what these men were doing to her, and I am so thankful I had escaped that fate.

I believe that it is our responsibility as people to speak against injustice. It’s our responsibility to stop a person from raping, to help get a victim to report a rape, or just be there for the victim. One of the first things to prevent rape or sexual assault: don’t be naive, rape/sexual assault COULD happen to you or a person you know whether you are a guy or a girl. When you go out drinking or partying, go with a group of friends who you know will take care of you or watch over you. Another thing to do is not accept a cup or any open containers that could have been tampered with, from strangers. I know free alcohol can be tempting but there is a possibility date-rape drugs were put in your drink. Don’t take the risk. Be careful too, with whom you trust. Another thing is to just say NO. Don’t be afraid and stand up for yourself, prepare yourself for something that could happen and follow these guidelines. It is great to have fun, but you also have to be smart.

Check out http://ntdaily.com/unt-plans-events-for-sexual-assualt-awareness/ for UNT events related to Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

 

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