In response to the #MeToo movement, members of the Civic Engagement committee wrote a reflective piece on rape culture and gaslighting that pervades our society. Snippets of the article can be found below:
Although the Me Too movement has shed light on so many victimizers whose crimes were once swept under the rug, one can argue that the original purpose of the movement has been left behind. While we want to maintain the light shed on offenders, we do not want to lose focus on the changes needed to stop sexual assault and its tabooed and silenced acceptance. There are new stories each day about abuse of power in various levels of all industries, but it has not been well publicized that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault compared to other races or that other women of color also experience higher rates of sexual assault compared to white women. Research states 1 out of 10 rape victims are male, and 1 in 6 men have experienced unwanted sexual abuse. The actual numbers of male victims may even be higher as they are widely underreported. Social stigmas and the pressures of gender conformity shame men into not sharing their experiences or outing their assailants. These types of systemic stories are not surfacing to mainstream public consciousness as quickly as the individual stories of workplace harassment or the takedown of individual serial abusers.These alarming data points are mere numbers when looking at behaviors of society. Numbers don’t have meaning unless a individual chooses to see the adverse effects of societal development. The Me Too movement is centralized around two major components: stories of the brave survivors, and outing perpetrators that have evoked pain and suffering through their heinous actions. However there is a missing and often overlooked aspect: everyone else. Many often feel helpless or unsure of what to do when seeing and hearing of these stories. Actions can go beyond just sharing words of comfort by individuals demonstrating solidarity in everyday moments. Taking action to speak up against abusive ideas and behaviors go a long way in preventing harassment and violence. Silence was and still is the main culprit to this ongoing issue.