Illustration by Brigid McLaughlin/Viking/@brig_mc

Story by Erin Asis
Citystyle editor

“Well what did you think would happen? Did you see what she was wearing?”
“She got totally wasted, she was asking for it!”
Picture someone you know, love or being a victim of rape. How would you feel if people said this to you or about you? This is what many victims and survivors of rape or sexual assault deal with.
To clarify, no matter what I am wearing or what my blood-alcohol content is, it does not give anyone permission to do what they please with my body.
Statistics show 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime, with only 6 percent of rapists ever spending a single day in jail for their crime. That means 94 percent of rapists, people who cause serious physical, mental and emotional trauma, walk away scot-free. This is unacceptable, and to be frank, insulting to victims of rape.
There is absolutely no excuse for rape. No situation or circumstance can justify defiling a person that way.
One topic that some seem to struggle with is sexual consent. Sexual consent is defined as “when someone agrees, gives permission or says ‘yes’ to sexual activity. Sexual consent is freely given and done so in a state in which they can agree to such activity. Sexual consent can be withdrawn by any person involved at anytime.
To clarify, here’s an analogy, think of sex like a cup of tea. You can offer to make someone a cup of tea, but if they don’t want it, then you simply do not give them tea. If they would like the cup of tea, then you can make them one.
Victim blaming is also something that is common and not acceptable. For some reason, people are OK with the notion that wearing revealing clothing, a person’s sexual history or how many drinks someone has been pumping into themselves while simply trying to have a good time is an invitation for sex. It’s not.
If rape were related to how much sex someone has had in the past, then virgins wouldn’t be raped. If rape were related to how much someone has had to drink, sober people wouldn’t be raped.
Rape and sexual assault is something that has lately been more in the spotlight. The topic has been receiving more attention, as it should.
The spotlight allows us to have a chance to educate and inform others about how sexual assault and rape culture affects society. With the continued increase of advocacy, we can hope instances of sexual assault and rape decrease. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t even happen, but that’s wishful thinking. For now, advocacy, compassion and understanding is the best we can do.