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Erin Fischer - Columnist

Post Secret: Victim blaming never acceptable response to sexual violence

The White House Coalition to End Sexual Assault and the “It’s On Us” campaign's new goal include emphasizing that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take action towards assault prevention and that victim blaming is never an acceptable response to sexual violence.

Sexual assault is a hot topic on campus and on a national level these days. Recently, the White House Coalition to End Sexual Assault and the “It’s On Us” campaign were released with new goals to address issues. The new goal include emphasizing that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take action towards assault prevention and that victim blaming is never an acceptable response to sexual violence.

F--kRapeCulture has also been conducting a lot of local activism towards ending sexual violence and has been widely discussed on campus.

It’s great to see an issue like this getting so much attention, especially considering the jaw-dropping statistics. An estimated 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted while in college and every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Everyone knows someone who is a survivor. Sexual violence truly impacts everyone.

As I am on the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Speakers Bureau, I know how important it is to speak out. Unfortunately, even today I feel stigmas whenever I talk about the issue. We still have a long way to go in terms of empowering survivors.

Although I wasn’t assaulted while in college, it was something I began to heal from and work through when I started classes. I can tell you firsthand that the party culture and the ways people tend to socialize here can be extremely triggering. Even the dedicated spaces for survivors are often still based with assumptions. For example, the assumption that a man is always the attacker and a woman is always the victim. I’ve found many of these spaces to be triggering as well and it can be hard to address this without sounding as if you are criticizing the existence space itself. It’s frustrating and it can be hard to balance.

I want you all to take away that if you are a survivor, you are not alone, and if you’re not, it’s incredibly important to support those who are. Navigating sexual violence or past assaults at any time of your life is difficult and requires a lot of emotional heavy lifting. College can bring this issue to the forefront, as you’re surrounded by campaigns, actions and programs dealing with sexual violence. The idea that it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling and love yourself as you are is pertinent.

I would also like to encourage all to participate in the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes events. There will be some fantastic events happening with the Women’s and LGBT Center this week. So get out and get involved!

Erin Fischer is a senior studying women’s and gender studies. Email her at ef102312@ohio.edu

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