Our take: Step up and speak up

Ahilyn Aguilar, Editor-in-Chief

Each year more than 321,00 people, age 12 and older, become victims of rape and sexual assault in the United States. However, only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police, according to the Department of Justice.

Sexual assault has always been an issue, and even though it is a hard topic to discuss, the time to end the silence is here.  

On Oct. 5, the media’s attention was set on film producer Harvey Weinstein who was accused of sexual assault by actress Ashley Judd in a New York Times story. Judd’s story  inspired 60 women to come out and share their stories, making the topic into a media spotlight.

As October continued, public cases of actors and actresses being sexually assaulted hit the news every day, not only  bringing light into molestation but also issues like non-consensual exposes. When actress Ellen Page charged director Brett Ratner for outing her as “gay” as a teenager and actor Anthony Edwards blamed producer Gary Goddard for sexual assaulting him “for years,” among many others, the public started realizing the magnitude of the issue.

The public started realizing the magnitude of the issue when it reached politics with Alabama’s Republican Party Senate being accused. Candidate Roy Moore was arraigned of sexual abuse by two women, one being Beverly Nelson who was one of Moore’s most seen acquaintances.

This issue is connected with public figures, but, everyone is vulnerable. These occurrences do happen locally, with family, significant others or even adults connected with the school system.

In a study conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it was determined that in cases of sexual abuse it is 93 percent probable that the victim has some connection with the abuser. The study also determined that 59 percent of these abusers are the victim’s acquaintance.

The more attention sexual assaults get, the harder it becomes to ignore the topic. Sexual misconducts cases are not rare, instead, they are an issue that it is seen too often.

By not making it an isolated issue, the stigma of saying something is disappearing with every case that comes to light. So, what’s our play in all of this?

First, we must recognize that sexual assaults do happen, it is an issue that happens too often. Second, speak up, whether for yourself or for someone you know, even if they are just an acquaintance. Finally, do not discredit victims just because the issue has developed into a media trend.

We must remember that there is safety in numbers and it might take a flood of similar stories for an individual to tell their story. So, accept the issue and be part of the solution.