Sexual assault: Now’s the time to talk about it

By Postie Editors

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Every year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center chooses a specific topic to focus on.

This year they are centering in on child abuse — specifically, early education and prevention.

The group’s slogan is “it’s time… to talk about it.”

We wholeheartedly agree.

We need to create a world where young children are aware of the dangers that may cross them. We do not advocate instilling fear in young minds, but sexual assault is serious and should be treated as such.

Every year, there are 207,754 victims of sexual assault, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Of those victims, 44 percent are under the age of 18, and 80 percent are under the age of 30.

It gets worse, as 54 percent of sexual assaults are not reported. Because of this and other factors, 97 percent of perpetrators in the United States never see the jail cell.

For us, the most alarming statistic is that two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.

We need to teach our children to speak out and get help for themselves and others who may be victims. We also need to teach them not to become perpetrators themselves.

We tell our kids not to get in cars with strangers, but what will it take for us to sit down in a classroom and educate about rape and other forms of sexual abuse at a younger age? Why don’t we teach our children what to do when someone they trust poses harm — or even how to recognize actions that are harmful?

Teaching these kids about sexual abuse and the implications it poses for all parties can and will limit the frequency of such tragedies.

None of this can happen until children learn how to get help.

Fortunately, Oakland University is creating an environment that informs its students about the implications of sexual assault.

Thursday’s “Take Back the Night,” — a session on ending violence against women — is just one facet of Oakland’s point to end sexual assault. The event, which will be held in at 7 p.m. in the Banquet Rooms, will allow sexually and physically abused victims to share their stories with others and realize they are not alone.

The OU Police Department also serves as a resource on campus, frequently holding Rape Aggression Defense personal training lessons throughout the year to teach women how to fight back.

The NSVRC is right. It’s time to talk about it, starting now.


The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.