The Quick And Dirty On Sexual Assault


Every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted.

Think about this: In the time it takes you to brush your teeth, at least one American is sexually assaulted.

About 66% of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.

Think about your close friends. Now think about their friends. And their friends. That’s your pool. Pick your poison. “Normal people” shouldn’t be exonerated for being “otherwise normal.” I don’t care who you think that perpetrator is. If they committed an act of sexual assault, they don’t get a free ride. Learning from mistakes should happen in jail or under psychiatric care. Perpetrators will not learn from being excused.

Men are victims, too.

To the men who have said that sexual assault discussions ignore male victims, your argument is valid. Men are victims, too. One in every thirty-three men has experienced sexual assault.

Crimes against men are usually committed by men.

Men commit 99% of all sexual assaults. Victims can be any gender, but perpetrators are almost always men. I can say with more confidence than I can tell you your condom will work that a man is likely to be the perpetrator in a case of sexual assault.

We need to know our definitions.

Sexual assault and rape are not synonymous. There are many types of sexual assault. Learn them. Be aware of what crosses the line. When alcohol is involved, legally speaking, the line has been crossed. In real life, most people don’t abide by the sober rule. Be aware of yourself and your friends. If someone is in trouble, do something. “He’s too drunk to hurt her” is not good enough.

Women need to discuss more than just self-defense.

Self-defense is important. It isn’t a solution, it’s a reaction. In order to solve this problem, conversations about sexual assault need to extend beyond, “Kick them in the groin and run like hell.” If we can cut off the attitude, maybe it won’t become a behavior. Let’s talk about how we can do that; sometimes simply calling out inappropriate jokes can start the ball rolling. Rape jokes are not funny. Stop laughing awkwardly, even if it’s that cute kid from across the street telling the joke. Start. The. Ball. Rolling.

These are not women’s issues.

The term “women’s issues” allows other people to tune out and forces women to solve the problem. These are human issues. There are bigger factors at play than “man versus woman.” This fight is human versus human. We need to start making humans treat others like humans and not just ask men to pretend they think women are their equals. Humans. Humans are humans. Treat them as such.

Any bit helps.

Do your part. If someone says something about another human that you know isn’t right, do something about it. You have power. Get that ball rolling.


Greenfeld, L. A. Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault, Washington, D. C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997.

Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network website.