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Editorial: Sexual assault awareness includes teaching consent

In a time when sexual assault is a common occurrence, it is important to teach people to respect consent.

The majority of sexual assault victims are women. About 9 percent of rape and sexual assault victims are male, according to Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, meaning 91 percent are women. Regardless, all of these cases are unacceptable.

Recently, it seems the focus surrounding sexual assault has been placed on making survivors aware of their resources and options after an assault. There is an abundance of self-defense classes for women and mace cans come in pink.

This education is great, and we are glad Bradley’s campus and the nation as a whole about is taking strides to create more awareness about these topics, but we think one major aspect has been left out of the conversations for the most part: teaching consent.

We need to focus more as a society on the responsibility of people not to rape or sexually assault other people. Consent and what consent consists of is crucial to emphasize.

Anne Hollis, Director of the Center for Student Support Service, briefly explained this issue in an article this week, “Administrators, students promote sexual assault awareness” on page A8.

“It doesn’t matter how much you drank,” Hollis said. “It doesn’t matter what you were wearing. None of that matters. The fact that you were unable to give consent is what the violation is.”

Rapes are not usually committed by a random stranger. The perpetrators of the majority of sexual assaults are individuals that the victim is acquaintances or friends with.

These “friends” need to be able to recognize and have ingrained in their brains that what they are doing is wrong, and survivors need to know they have the right to feel violated.

Resources shouldn’t be taken away from survivors, but there needs to be additional work done to educate people on what exactly sexual assault consists of, as well as the importance of consent.

Many college-aged students will have children sooner or later, which means it is important to educate them on treating their fellow humans respectfully. Even when children are playing, it is important to teach them to respect each other’s boundaries and to respect other peoples’ “no’s.”

Issues will continue on like this if the root of the problem isn’t addressed. Education about consent and consent becoming an ingrained part of society is something integral to eradicating sexual assault.