Put an End to Sexual Violence


Teal is the color of the sexual assault ribbon. Photo courtesy: Steph Galaburri, May 19, 2021.

Stephanie Galaburri

     Sexual violence is an inhumane act far too common in society. In Connecticut, sexual assault is defined as an event where a person cannot or does not consent to an activity. 

    According to Rainn.org, “As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape. As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.”

     Sexual violence may have long term effects on victims. Studies show an increase of drug use and symptoms for PTSD; post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims may also feel they can no longer trust the people around them, even family and friends. 

     People of the LGBTQ community are at higher risk for sexual assault and violence. For instance, “21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males,” says Rainn.org.

     A relationship does not automatically imply consent from both partners. A person can change their mind anytime they want. “If someone crosses your boundaries or you sense danger, speak your mind and act immediately. Make a scene if necessary,” instructs Foran social worker Jennifer Soldi. 

     Sexual harassment, stalking, and touching someone without consent is seen as 4th degree sexual assualt. The simplest way to avoid this is to get consent. That would mean receiving a confident “yes” from your significant other. Moving forward without consent can be tried in court and result in jail.

     Foran health teacher, Jeffrey Raucci, states, “Educating themselves more on the issue, understanding how prevalent it actually is among teenagers, and being able to know and understand the importance of consent for every romantic situation and advocate for this is the most important factors in dealing with sexual assault.”

     “No” is not an invitation to keep going. It is important to have respect for others and where they set their boundaries. Pressuring someone into an activity does not count as consent and can be tried in court. Both partners must give permission for legal consent.

     Soldi urges everyone to, “Have a back-up plan. For example, if you’re going to a party, make sure someone you trust knows where you’re going.” Pour and keep an eye on your own drink. Date rape drugs have no taste. Avoid excessive drinking because being intoxicated reduces the ability to think and communicate properly.

     Spreading awareness and taking action is key to making change and moving in a positive direction.