Local sexual assault students come forward

Gianna Arcolino and Molly Gherini

Sexual assault and harassment doesn’t just happen in Hollywood, Washington D.C. or on the U.S. Olympic gymnastic team, but also on middle school, high school and college campuses.

After asking permission from a Rio student if they had ever been sexually harassed in high school or middle school, the anonymous student shared her own story.

“In my situation, I was working on a book report and I was the only girl in the group ,” said she. “This kid would always touch me and it would always make me uncomfortable”.

Because of situations like these, victims feel uncomfortable around the opposite sex.

“He would always move his hand up my thigh,” said the student. “I would always tell him to stop and the boys wouldn’t, they would say things like, ‘oh we’re friends so we can do that’”.

Perpetrators usually cover up their actions by justifying it to the victims, which confuses the victims, making them think that it is not a big deal and that it is not necessary to seek help.

“It’s really confusing when you are in that situation everyday,” said she. “You would tell them to stop and they would laugh and say it was just a joke.”

Many victims believe after a while that these actions are normal and happen to everyone.

“This kind of stuff would happen so frequently that girls would start thinking it’s normal,” said she. “It was a huge wake up call to see how people are and it’s just scary that a lot of girls are put through this.”

When victims are sexual harassed or assaulted at a young age, they normally don’t know that other people’s atrocious actions are in fact, wrong.

“It wasn’t until we came to high school when we realized that their behavior towards girls was not OK,” said she.

Sexual Abuse isn’t something people grow out of and definitely doesn’t just happen to young students. Sexual Harassment is far to common in the film industry and the political industry, and is now just being addressed in the media.

The most recent incident in Hollywood has revolved around another accusation against Harvey Weinstein, the notorious film producer. Recently, Weinstein forced actress Salma Hayek to do a sex scene with another woman, showing full frontal nudity. If Hayek refused, Weinstein threatened to shut down her dream movie, Frida. On Dec. 13, NBC News released a statement from Hayek stating, “There was no room for negotiation, I had to say yes.”

Even powerful, adult actresses in Hollywood are faced to feel as though they have no option or voice in the matter.

On Dec. 12, the former U.S. gymnastic team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison for separate child porn charges. It was said that he pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault. These reports are now just being addressed in 2017, including allegations from the six time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman and the two time Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney. Complaints of his inappropriate actions were first brought up in 1997, taking 20 years to be addressed and taken seriously.

Since October, victims have finally gained the courage to speak out against the many years they have spent hiding their stories. Since these allegations have been publicized, there has been far more repercussions for the perpetrators’ actions. An instance of a repercussion was when former Supreme Court Justice of Alabama, Roy Moore, lost the U.S. Senate seat, after nine allegations of sexual misconduct.

These incidents have helped victims feel comfortable sharing their stories, which have encouraged more victims to feel supported and not alone. These allegations help spread awareness to the victims that the behavior from sexual predators is not normal and must be put to an end.

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