Unspoken Truths

Anna Spell, Editor-in-Chief

A few weeks ago, I signed myself up for a R.A.D. course at Mizzou. What is that, you ask? Rape. Aggression. Defense. The funny part is, I used to consider myself too independent. Too proud. Too smart to find myself in that kind of situation. And then I realized that none of that mattered. Seeking protection, an armor of any sorts, isn’t weakness.


You get catcalled or whistled at, and you don’t think anything of it — because that’s normal now. And it would’ve happened no matter how I was dressed, or if I was wearing makeup, or if I made eye contact. It doesn’t matter what I look like to them. We live in a society that has become desensitized to sexual harassment. Brushed off like a stray hair. It’s there, but acknowledging it is acknowledging that it’s there. Present. It happens. And often. Just a few days ago, I heard someone say “let’s go rape him” in a joking manner to their friend. What’s the joke?


According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. And for every Brock Turner case, there’s a hundred more that go unspoken of.


These unspoken truths have found recent voices as allegation after allegation arises across social media. And as some come out from even decades ago, they help illustrate the power social media movements hold.


Social media has become an extremely powerful tool over the past decade, especially in regards to raising awareness about sexual harassment. That being said, I think social media advocacy can only go so far. While this new kind of digital activism is critical in raising awareness, will it lead to social change? As much as I admire social media activists, I think we all need to take it a step farther. Social media makes it too easy for us to fall under a sort of keyboard apathy. People may like or retweet a powerful message, but never act on it the moment they disconnect.


Talking about sexual abuse doesn’t end sexual abuse. Donate, volunteer, discuss, and most importantly, be a role model.


I’ve never been a victim. But I’ve been a witness. Time after time again. One in five is a terrifying statistic. A number that needs to change. Please don’t just tap a heart in affirmation. Follow up on what you stand for.