Blog  Defining Sexual Violence

Defining Sexual Violence

Please note: In this piece we see some of the anger and frustration held by many women about this issue. As you read through it consider her frustration and how you can be a source for change.

By: Erica Mungin, NFTY-STR

Before we go into depth about sexual violence, let’s talk about its definition. The dictionary definition of sexual violence is a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent. Now, just that one sentence says a lot but I still feel like I need to break it down, word by word.

Let’s start with “a sexual act committed”. These words means any sexual activity that was done. I still see many people who don’t understand the words “sexual act.”They believe that those words refer to sex and nothing else -- let me emphasize that they don’t. There is a wide range of different sexual acts, and I can’t name all of them, but I will name some of them so certain people can get the idea: Sexual violence includes but is not limited to rape, unwanted touching, sexual abuse, forcing sexual acts when the victim is under the influence, and sexual harassment.

Now this brings us to the next part of the definition, “...against someone without that person’s freely given consent.”  This refers to forcing yourself upon a person who didn’t say it was okay for you to do whatever you’re trying to do. Here’s a really cool but easy concept that people should follow: when a person gives any sign of not wanting to get intimate with you… just stop. They are NOT giving you consent. No more but’s, and’s, or’s, nothing. Just respect their decision, apologize, and walk away. Ever since the beginning of humankind, people can’t seem to comprehend the word ‘no’. Does ‘no’ just translate into ‘yes’ or ‘they said no but they secretly mean yes so i’m still gonna do the same thing’? Tell me how when a person is screaming for help with tears in their eyes, that it’s a cue to continue doing it. This is just absolutely horrifying to imagine the amount of people who have committed some sort of sexual violence against someone and truly believe that what did wasn’t wrong.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel as if sexual violence, on the down low, is accepted, worshiped, and concealed. In today’s society, many people are against rape, sexual abuse, and are starting to bring it to the public eye.  But there are others. These people are the ones that catcall with no shame, smack others butts without their consent, taking advantage of others who are under the influence and so much more. Many would say that this is incorrect behavior but if your think about it, people worship it. In my experience with guys who don’t want to take “no” as an answer, they try to charm you and then make their move. Here’s when the problems start to happen. When the girls start to push this boy  away, they either start harassing her and call her degrading names or try to touch her without her consent and seduce her. Also, the guy’s friends don’t tell him to back off but they encourage this behavior, which is something I can’t imagine, but it’s true.

Also, there are many celebrities who have been convicted of sexual violence but the fans have all just sweep it under the rug. When Kodak Black has been convicted of sexually assaulting someone, many, many, many people said that it’s totally fine because that he makes good music and they don’t want him to go to jail. I don’t care who you are, how much money you make, if you have done something to someone that is absolutely not okay, you deserve to go to jail. Isn’t it crazy on how crazy our society is nowadays?

I also feel that the people in our society are very hypocritical because it’s okay if celebrities with “good music” commit such a crime, but when politicians do it, it’s all of a sudden wrong and inhumane. I totally understand that it’s wrong for what the politicians do, but you can’t go around hating on one group and then not hating the other when they both did the same thing. Sexual violence is wrong -- it doesn’t matter who they are, their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, etc.

Based on what I’ve seen, views on sexual violence are all over the place and there’s no set viewpoint. Some folks say it’s wrong all the way (me), others say it’s wrong but it’s fine in certain situations, and so on. Personally, I feel that the issue of sexual violence should be talked about more. We shouldn’t just talk about it when big celebs or politicians are convicted; we need to talk about prevention, how ‘no’ means no, how both genders can commit sexual violence, and how it’s okay to report that you were assaulted. Wake up America, we need to stop being picky on who we want to convict for acts of sexual violence, and start actually bringing justice to victims no matter who committed the act, or who the victim is. We need to start raising awareness about sexual violence. Let’s fix our society now.