Telling The Real Stories

The Grey Area of Sexual Abuse

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Everyone in society needs to be aware of the struggles that certain communities go through on a daily basis. Understanding these struggles help to limit certain problems that groups deal with every day. Helping to create a bigger resistance to these issues, and a possible end.

Sexual abuse is a struggle that no one should ever have to deal with. While we understand the solid definition of sexual abuse we sometimes forget to look at and understand the grey area surrounding sexual abuse, especially when it comes to women. 

“I do believe there is a grey area,” Brad Buchman, a senior at St. Cloud State University said.  “I believe that not many people know what all falls into the category of harassment or abuse. There needs to be a greater overall understanding.” 

We see this grey area in almost every facet of our communities, yet nowhere else more prevalent than college campuses, with St. Cloud State University not being exempt from this issue.

Nautika Burroughs, a junior at SCSU feels safety is of the utmost importance.

“The issue I believe that women face on campus is safety, myself and a few women that I’ve encountered feel unsafe walking the campus at night,” Burroughs said. 

This is an issue that a lot of women on campus deal with every day. Having to not only deal with the issue of safety but also the invasion of privacy. Which countless of women on campus have stated to be a huge issue that deserves to be addressed.

“Women being catcalled and physically harassed, I have seen it multiple times on campus,” Johnnathan Son, a senior at SCSU said.

“I walk to campus and sit in Atwood all the time, and the things I see and hear men say to women walking by is disgusting. Saying very sexual and provocative things. Sometimes also physically crossing the line touching a woman when she clearly does not want to be touched,” Son said.

According to “RAINN” the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, women 18-24 (college women) are three times more likely to deal with forms of sexual abuse, being anywhere from verbal to physical. 4.2% of female students across the country have experienced a form of stalking throughout their collegiate career. Only 20% of female students report any type of sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Women on campuses throughout the country have to deal with things such as catcalling, judgment of clothing, sexual labeling, fear of sexual abuse, and even touching from strangers. They are forced to go to greater lengths to protect themselves such as carrying pepper spray, a knife, walking in groups, or even talking on the phone while walking alone.

In terms of how men can support women and put a stop to some of the abuse, Amanda Addo, a freshman at SCSU commented, “Men can help women who face these issues by speaking out and letting their friends know that some of their actions towards women are not ok.” 

Everyone and anyone – no matter their race or gender, should feel safe on campus as they attend classes. These struggles of feeling safe and secure can lead to students making unnecessary changes to their schedule and their everyday life on campus. These changes and limitations should be non-existent everyone should feel in control of the decisions they make on campus because of their own free will.

The more students who are aware and vigilant on these issues, the more awareness that is brought on this subject. Limiting the number of encounters that happen all over campuses throughout the U.S. Men on every campus can be advocates for women by doing simple things.

“If men stand up to some of the things that are being said by their friends, it can create a domino effect for other men to stand up and say something,” Son said. “It can also show women that men can care and work alongside them.”

“The only thing men can do to help women is to simply understand sexual abuse. To understand the danger to be a woman and teach their male friends to be more considerate and understanding.” Burroughs said.

The more that we as a society try to understand each other’s struggles, the closer we will become, and the more limitations we put on these outcomes to occur. We all have to step up and denounce these actions against women. This grey area demands to be addressed.

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