Apr 2021

Let's Talk About Sexual Assault Awareness

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Let's Talk About Sexual Assault Awareness

Here at The Conversationalist, we believe in providing a platform where every voice is heard and every perspective is respected. Every Monday at 9 p.m. EST in our Geneva community, we host And We’re LIVE!—where we discuss a current event or trending topic. For this week’s discussion, we focused our conversation on sexual assault.

For many people, sexual assault is a challenging topic. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, which means far too many people have personal experience with it, whether as a survivor or through a loved one. Additionally, it’s of particular concern for women as women ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. To break out of our echo chambers, build a more unified world, and create solutions to end sexual assault.

In March, a case in the United Kingdom rocked the world and led discussions about women’s safety. Sarah Everard was a 33-year-old woman who was murder by a police officer on her walk home. Sarah did everything she was supposed to do to stay safe on her walk home-- walked well-lit streets, wore bright clothes, and even called her boyfriend. Her death has brought about a reckoning of violence against women, and many people have used their outrage to take action.

In observation of Sexual Assault Awareness month and the wake of Sarah’s murder, our community shared their thoughts on navigating conversations about sexual assault in the TC community and beyond, promoting sex education and consent, and how we can support survivors in our lives. They also came up with solutions for coming together and lowering the prevalence in our communities. 

Here are some perspectives to consider:

1. Many of our community members are concerned about sexual assault in their daily lives:

Following the murder of Sarah Everard, community members shared thoughts about how sexual assault plays out in their daily life. 

2. During conversations about sexual assault, it’s essential to consider various perspectives and the ways we frame conversations:

Issues are always multifaceted, especially when people bring their personal experiences to the table. Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge and hold space for everyone’s perspective and understand that there are always multiple ways to approach a conversation.

3. Everyone’s experience with sex education and consent is different:

Sex education is different all over the world. Some community members learned about consent as part of their sex-ed curriculums, but most weren’t. A few learned about it through their home environments.

4. It’s important to create spaces to have conversations about sexual assault in our everyday lives:

When we talk about issues, we come closer to solutions for them. Even when it’s uncomfortable, raising awareness helps other people understand the urgency behind sexual assault and enables more people to feel safe and comfortable sharing their own experiences. 

5. Supporting survivors is crucial. Even and holding perpetrators accountable is vital:

Too often, sexual assault survivors don’t come forward about their experience for fear of judgment, retaliation, or invalidation. By listening to and validating survivors and holding those who commit sexual assault accountable for their actions, we can create supportive and safe environments.

6. When someone downplays or belittles the experience of a sexual assault survivor, it’s important to call them in:

When it comes to conversations about sexual assault, language matters, it’s essential to listen to survivors and validate their experiences. It’s also crucial to never make jokes about sexual assault and encourage others to do the same. 

7. We can work together as a community to lower the prevalence of sexual assault:

By having conversations, checking inappropriate language, and coming together to hold our institutions accountable, we can build a world where sexual assault is entirely and utterly intolerable. 

Thanks to all of our Conversationalists for sharing their points of view with us. Let’s keep the conversation going! How can we talk about sexual assault with our family, friends, and peers in other spaces? How can we support survivors in our lives and hold perpetrators accountable? Join us in Geneva and follow The Conversationalist on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to share your thoughts and stay up to date with all of our future events.