As summer approaches, more parties are being held and more couples are going out on dates. Unfortunately, this too leads to an increased number of sexual assault cases. And not for the reason most would think .
According to the National Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network, 66 percent of all assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Additionally, the most common age of victims is 16 to 18 year olds. This means that the typical Criminal Minds or other Hollywood produced material with a man in a big coat and mustache is hardly the perpetrator in such cases. Rather, both victims and perpetrators can be any race, gender, or age.
If we were to be in the situation in which another human is trying to sexually assault us, as humans and animals, we have the tendency either to run, to freeze, or to fight back. There is no knowing what we as individuals would do in a situations such as this. It is imperative that you call 911 or a friend or find a public area immediately if you are suspicious of someone. Also, it is taught not to get into these scenarios in the first place. In other words, don’t go out with someone you are not comfortable with, or stay in public areas.
Another aspect of this is the bystander role. If you are suspicious or see that there is incoming harm to another individual, there are three options: be directly active, partner up, or divert the situation. If in doubt, it is best to call the police and monitor the scene until they arrive; the goal of someone who views these crimes is to prevent it from escalating. Another instance, taking direct actions would involve confronting the pair or blocking their path. Finally, a diversion could be simply leading the victim away or distracting the attacker.
Most importantly, many teens could be participating in sexual assault without knowing it. As many couples have an older member in the relationship, when he/she is 18, his/her partner cannot give consent because he/she is still below the age of 18. In other words, the 18 year old can be convicted of sexual assault and labeled as a child offender even if the sex is not “forced”.
As said before, the best way to avoid sexual assault, as any other crime, is early prevention. Informing youth and teenagers that performing such acts is not okay is one of the first steps. Additionally, spreading awareness about these crimes increases the chance that one can realize he/she is in danger and can evade it.
Good luck on finals and stay safe,
Your Fellow Classmate