One more reason why our culture continues to be a rape culture: Last year, I attended a college conference with my agent. We were there to meet students and their advisers. The event was basically like speed dating but for college students and lecturers. Colleges come to pick what they want to bring back to their school.
Since I am a comedic motivational speaker (I speak on avoiding addictions, sexual assault, and body image), my work is a good fit for orientations.
My agent and I worked the booth together and we spoke with a lot of orientation directors.
There was another "speaker" who worked the booth with us. This man is a professor at a university, where he teaches philosophy. He (let's call him "Jeffrey") went on and on about his religious views and how hard it was for him to eat Kosher where he lived. He seemed to enjoy complaining about how difficult things were for him.
While I didn't agree with all of his points of view, I did respect his devotion to his religion. I began to view him as a goofy, out-of-touch, clownish sort of "nutty professor" who seemed pretty harmless.
On the second day, "Jeffrey" and I got into a conversation about sexual assault.
He said, "Well, I just don't believe those statistics of 1 out of every 4 females is assaulted on campuses. I think the number is over-inflated."
I said, "Oh really! I disagree. Every time I talk about my experiences of assault and molestation as a teen, and a college student, there is always someone else who says that they too were assaulted. I think the statistic is actually higher because so many incidents go unreported due to the shame and stigma around sex/sexual assault in this country."
Jeffery said, "Well, it really doesn't matter since most of those girls have been sexually active for years anyway."
I replied, "What? So you are saying that if a young woman has already been sexually active, whether by choice or not, it doesn't matter if she gets assaulted? It doesn't matter if someone is doing things to her against her will or if she is too incapacitated to legally consent?"
Jeffrey said, "Well, if she's been sexually active, it's not an issue."
At this point, I had to walk away before I punched him.
My agent just stood there, watching the exchange between us. Later she said to him, "I hope you don't share your point of view about this when you speak, especially to students."
This attitude (it-doesn't-count-if-the-girl-is-not-a-virgin) is one reason why we are still in the dark ages about this issue. Sexual assault or inappropriateness happens all around us.
It does not matter if a woman is sexually active or not.
A woman's past has nothing to do with harassment or assault. No one deserves to be raped. No one.
If you or someone you know has been assaulted, molested or stalked, please know you are not alone. You can get help, no matter where you are.
Look up your local hotline or health and human services at your school, town or city. There are online resources and local resources for little or no cost.
There are many resources online on sexual addiction, assault and ways to heal and get support. Please know that someone has gone through exactly what you are going through and that they made it and so can you.
Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.