The Sexual Assault Problem Is Not Yet Solved


Credit to Amanda Eckhard

A closer look at how the prevalence of rape and the culture surrounding it impact our community and society as a whole.

By Uma Upamaka

In the scheme of modern politics, one issue goes largely unmentioned: sexual assault. That is, until Oct. 5, 2017. The New York Times published a piece detailing allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Within the span of the past couple month, the Miramax mogul’s name has become synonymous with sexual assault, systematic oppression and a culture of “see something, say nothing.” 50 people have come out against Weinstein. They include famous stars such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne and Judith Godréche. Many have praised these women for publicly accusing Weinstein, thereby strengthening the various cases against him. Actor Anthony Rapp was similarly praised for issuing the first in a series of accusations against Kevin Spacey. The general attitude seems to be one of “now that the part of the problem has been solved, it’s over.” In reality, the truth is vastly different. For every head of a hydra that is cut off, two grow back in its place: for every case uncovered, there are always two more hiding in the shadows. The same headline is repeated over and over, “__ Has Been Accused of Sexual Assault.”

But nothing major is being done.

It is not just in high-profile industries such as star-studded Hollywood or Washington D.C.  According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 30,000 cases of harassment were reported in the fiscal year 2015. The United States Military, in the year 2016, also stated that 6,172 reports of sexual assault were made, and that 86% of those cases had women of service as victims. Even worse, the same study estimates that around 68% more cases went unreported in the same year.

Every day, more and more people are being accused of sexual assault, with multiple people accusing them every time. Such a widespread problem is not one person’s corrupted mindset, but an entire group of people who have a blatant disregard for consent. So, the question is, how did this toxic mindset come into place?

In the first statement of many put out by Weinstein after the allegations surfaced, he stated that his abhorrent behavior was the result of his upbringing in the 1960s and 70s, then moved to say that his inner demons caused his behavior. This excuse is unacceptable. However, this same excuse, as well as other variants that blame the victims have been parroted by everyone accused of assault in the past month. The fact of the matter is that this excuse is unacceptable and in its essence, an act of pushing the blame onto something they cannot control.

In the end, after all of these allegations, one may think the problem is solved. This could not be more false. Sexual assault remains pervasive in several industries, and new accusations and viable cases surface every day. Acknowledging the problem and leaving it at that will never be a viable solution to a problem as widespread as sexual assault. Speaking up and advocating for victims is the only way to fight back against rape. As a whole, the nation may not be close to solving sexual assault as a whole, but, by encouraging victims to speak up and prosecuting those who commit this heinous crime, we may just be that much closer.