Violence against women is underreported—not only in the stats, but also in our society in general. The sad truth is, it is a story that has happened so often, that in most cases, it doesn’t hit the newspapers, or appear visible in any way to the public and society. The issue is ugly, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist—it is simply concealed in the shadows. And maybe you think it won’t happen to you, but it still doesn’t mean that it’s O.K. if it happens to someone else. The forms of abuse can vary greatly, be it physical or emotional, or psychological or sexual abuse. Women (and also men) need to know what they have a right to. Everyone has a right to be treated with respect. Respect for their body, their opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and actions, among other items. You have a right to be valued. You have a right to say no. To change your mind. You have the right to decide not to kiss someone. To not feel obligated to go home with someone, even if they bought you a drink. To fool around, but not have sex. You do have the right to refuse to have sex without a condom. To leave a relationship. To be assertive. To keep your friends. Now I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me. I’m NOT telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. Considering the prevalent hookup culture of the 5Cs, it is a reality that many people will be having fun in college. As long as that fun remains fun, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, it is also very possible to be caught in certain situations that you may or may not feel comfortable in—and for those cases you should know that you are a valuable person who deserves to be respected, and are not obligated to do anything you don’t want to do.
If you are currently in an abusive relationship or situation, please tell a friend, relative, or contact local help, such as: http://www.cuc.claremont.edu/monsour/ and http://www.cuc.claremont.edu/monsour/pdf/Groups-Fall2011Flyer.pdf