Sexual Assault: To what will you or must you (re)act?

The four-part series, “Surviving Silence,” published throughout this week in The Daily Pennsylvanian and addressing the history of sexual assault here at Penn, seems perfectly timed with the recent readings regarding consent and rape culture.

Although this may just be true for me personally, I feel that there is a tendency to feel a kind of disconnect when reading headlines with phrases such as “Student sexually assaulted…” Perhaps this is just evident proof of how, as Bell Hooks stated, “We live in a culture that condones and celebrates rape” (Hooks 109), and how we have these preconceived notions of when rape or sexual assault happens and to whom. However, sexual assault does not discriminate, and it can happen to anyone. According to RAINN, approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by a known acquaintance of the victim, and 60% of assaults never get reported to the police.

Unfortunately, recently events involving people that I know have given me very real faces to the problem, as well as allowed me to re-evaluate my own attitude and opinions towards rape and sexual assault. Just because it may not directly affected us, does that mean that we should passively let it be? I feel like many people tend to have a similar mindset regarding any type of social issue, in that, though they may see it as horrible, it has not personally affected them yet and thus, they do not have a similar responsibility to act. But if we do not act, who will?

Hooks, Bell. “Seduced by Violence No More.” Outlaw Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994: 109-113.

“Statistics | RAINN.” Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. <;.

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