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Letter to the Editor—Sexual Violence

Claire Hofstetter, PSU student  

My name is Claire Hofstetter, and I am in the Intro to Women’s Studies class this year at PSU. For this class, I am doing a project about sexual violence. A lot of people and students may think they know exactly what sexual violence is (sexual assault and rape), but not many know all the details about it. It is important that students get more informed and engage in the topics that come with sexual violence, so there could possibly be a change. 

Sexual assault and rape have been an issue in society for a really long time. To fully understand why rape and sexual assault is an important topic that students should learn more about, they need to be clearly defined. The article “What is Rape and Sexual Assault” defines sexual assault as, “an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, inflicted on someone without their consent.” Furthermore, the same article defines rape as, “when a person intentionally penetrates another’s vagina, anus or mouth with a penis, without the other person’s consent” (What is Rape and Sexual Assault). These are both acts that need to be taken seriously. For that to happen, it is key to know how much both of these actions happen. 

Some surprising facts that the article “Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics” notes… how important sexual violence is and why more students need to be taught about it. Here is a list of some of those statistics from that article:  

Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.  

On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. 

1 out of every 6 women have been a victim of tempted or completed rape.  

1 out of every 33 men have been a victim of tempted or completed rape.  

Clearly sexual assault and rape cases happen… (every day), and there is only one way to slow down that rate, and that is by educating people more about everything that happens with sexual assault and rape. 

Lastly, knowing the signs and symptoms of sexual assault and rape can greatly help with stopping or preventing it from happening. The article, Signs of Sexual Assault and Rape, provides good evidence and advice when an act of sexual violence has… (occurred). Some of the signs that the article mentions to look out for include physical injuries, trust issues, and isolation. 

These are all signs that an act of sexual violence may have… (occurred), and it could be a good indicator to reach out to that person who may have experienced it if they are comfortable. In addition to signs to look out for, the same article gives ideas of what to look for in a perpetrator. 

These include, “using derogatory sexual terms, sexually harassing others, exhibiting an aggressive demeanor, and seeing and treating others as sexual objects” (Signs of Sexual Assault and Rape). All in all, if more people knew what to look out for when someone has been a victim of sexual violence or a… (perpetrator), the numbers of these instances happening could go down.  

Overall, there is a lot of information that many people should know and learn about sexual assault and rape. If more people were involved in learning about these two situations and everything that comes with them, it could possibly decrease the amount of times they happen. It is also good information just to know in case someone ever needs to help a friend in need. The important information to know is to understand exactly what sexual assault is, the statistics that comes with it, and the signs to look for. All of this information could potentially help someone in need, and that is why it is good for students to get more involved and learn more about sexual violence. 

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