True Equality is Needed to End Rape Culture

A sexual assault helpline is available to provide support at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)

Laura Kelly, Opinion Editor

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Rape and sexual abuse are not words that most people want to hear, especially in school; nevertheless they are both real and happen too often. Rape culture penetrates our community from one-sided dress codes to our own President of The United States boasting about sexually assaulting women. Witnessing circumstances such as these is creating a society that normalizes sexual assault, which is unhealthy for upcoming generations and may lead to an increase in rapes and sexual assaults.

True equality is needed for women, men and the entire LGBTQ community in our society, at home and in public in order to decrease rape culture. Rape culture is used to describe a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. Examples include but are not limited to rape jokes, victim blaming and a justice system that doesn’t hold rapists accountable. Victims of sexual assault deserve to be heard and supported rather then being criticized and bashed for what has happened to them. Although most common in females (91%), rape also coexists within males (9%), which surprisingly does not include the LGBTQ community. In the LGBTQ community, 64% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.

According to, “after sexual assault, it’s hard to know how to react. You may be physically hurt, emotionally drained, or unsure what to do next. You may be considering working with the criminal justice system, but are unsure of where to start. Learning more about what steps you can take following sexual violence can help you get through a difficult time,”  Below are articles from the RAINN website that may help.

  • Steps You Can Take After Sexual Assault – It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. There is help available—you are not alone.
  • Safety Planning – Brainstorming ways to stay safe may help reduce the risk of future harm.
  • Receiving Medical Attention – After sexual assault, a medical exam can check for help check for injuries, even those you may not be able to see.
  • Help Someone You Care About – There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been affected by sexual violence.
  • Reporting to Law Enforcement – Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.
  • What Is a Rape Kit? – During a sexual assault forensic exam, a trained healthcare professional can collect DNA evidence from your body, clothes, and other personal belongings.
  • Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault – It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member.
  • How Can Therapy Help? – If you decide to seek support from a therapist after sexual assault or abuse, you may have some questions. That’s perfectly normal. Working with a therapist can help you deal with some of the challenges you may be facing.

Sexual assault helpline is available to provide support at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673). People living in the state of Virginia can call 1-800-838-8238 or text 1-804-793-9999