It’s time to shatter the silence about sexual violence

Steubenville. Sandusky. The Naval Academy.

These are just a few of the high-profile sexual assault cases that have dominated airtime and headlines over the past year. Unfortunately, it has become all too common to see stories of rape, sexual assault, and similar crimes on the nightly news. An increasing percentage of the most prominent cases are occurring on university campuses and involving students who either perpetrated or were the victims of sexual crimes. This is a dangerous trend that should concern every student at Saint Joseph’s University.

While there is no breaking news story of sexual assault on Hawk Hill to cover this week, this topic is always relevant and must be included in our discussions of the campus community. Even though it may not seem like this issue is immediately significant to St. Joe’s, it intimately affects countless people at our university.

By focusing on the complex and ambiguous role of sexual violence in our modern culture, we are seeking to raise awareness about this issue and to shape the conversations we must have. There are many ways in which our daily interactions with others and the culture that surrounds us support a culture that accepts sexual violence. Suggestive song lyrics, jokes about issues of sexual violence, and forms of harassment large and small contribute to the perpetuation of this dangerous environment. It is not enough to ignore this issue and pretend that it does not affect our campus community. We shouldn’t wait for an unspeakable tragedy to address this issue—it is a topic that we must take on now.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves about the myriad of ways in which our culture condones sexual impropriety. It’s time to begin a conversation about the complex and multi-faceted issue of sexual violence and the way it affects each and every one of our lives. It’s time to demonstrate our support of victims and declare our dedication to making a change in our society.

Only by talking about sexual violence and allowing our conversations to move us to take concrete actions can we battle this trend that threatens, disrespects, and dehumanizes every member of our generation.

It’s time to shatter the silence about sexual violence.



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