In the June 29 edition of the Collegian, I was pleased to see Dan Copeâ€™s column entitled, â€œA â€˜sluttyâ€™ walk around the worldâ€ which criticized the â€œblame the victimâ€ mentality that often accompanies incidents of sexual assault.
However, I would like to expand upon Copeâ€™s closing strategies to prevent sexual assault. He encourages us as a society to hold perpetrators of sexual assault accountable for their actions, and to educate people on how to avoid those â€œfew bad apples in our worldâ€ who commit sexual assault.
Many times the â€œbad applesâ€ that commit sexual assault are people that the victim knows and trusts. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 73 percent of adult victims knew their perpetrator (38 percent were friends, 28 percent were intimate partners and 7 percent were relatives).
I believe that a more practical way to address sexual assault begins with confronting men and masculinity. It is important to note that while men are victims of sexual assault, they also commit 98 percent of reported assaults.
This means that we need to be looking beyond models that frame perpetrators as bad individuals and start examining how sexual assault is culturally reinforced at a systemic level.
I believe that for men, reconstructing the idea of what it means to be male involves continuous self-critique and the ability to take criticism productively. This may seem like a daunting task, but Copeâ€™s statistics on the prevalence of sexual assault demonstrate that this work is urgent and absolutely necessary if we intend to create a better world for everyone.
John Akira Harrold is an ethnic studies major.