Opinion: More needs done to combat sexual assault

Matthew Olienechak

Matthew Olienechak

How many sexual harassment scandals are we going to have to suffer through? How many people will we ostracize and offer up as a sacrifice, then go back to business as usual?

Every time the people in power give the least amount of effort needed to prevent their carefully constructed establishment from being torn down. One by one, they snip away those ugly men who make their presence known.

Why don’t we go farther? Instead of waiting for the sexual perverts to incriminate themselves, why don’t we go after them just like any other suspected criminal? Why don’t we listen to women when they speak up?

Why do we create an environment where they fear doing so?

Shockingly, less than half of rape cases are reported to police. Through our ignorance and dismissal, we have created a society allows men to commit one of the most horrific crimes and get away with it.

Can you imagine if we were that lenient with any other law, like over 50 percent of murderers walking free or half of thieves slipping through the cracks.

But those crimes are different. Even if men are the majority of perpetrators, these crimes aren’t seen as being part of masculinity’s domain.

Sexual harassment is. Men even deny it being called as such, preferring “Boys will be boys” or deluding themselves into believing “She asked for it.” Toxic masculinity has taken hold of our justice system, allowing men like Brock Turner to walk free.

It allows men like President Donald Trump to win elections, a man who admitted to harassing women. A man who said you can do anything if you’re a star sits in the White House.

The issue has reached levels previously seen only in satire and parody. And yet, those in charge still push the issue to the side with even individuals sympathetic to those wronged preferring not to touch the topic.

Even when efforts are made to combat sexual assault, it is treated like a force of nature. Classes teach how to prevent, how to watch their drinks and how to fight back against aggressors, which, at this point in time, is necessary.

But, there has yet to be a widespread movement to attack its source. When will we try to teach how not to rape? When will we try to reverse the normalization of sexual assault, to make it truly taboo, and not just something you shouldn’t get caught doing?

I’m not sure if I will ever see this change in my lifetime, but I have hope. Although the current situation is still disgusting and warrants change, we have made progress through the decades.

More and more women come out every day, and men do suffer for the crimes they commit. But if we ever want to see a real change, we are going to have to make an effort.

Men will have to find the courage to finally admit we are part of the problem.

Matthew Olienechak is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]