Sexual predators don’t deserve friends

Jayde Teutsch, Staff Writer

This April marks the 22nd anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It should also be the year we stop making excuses for sexual predators.  

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are victims of rape or attempted rape as of 2011. These statistics bring attention to an issue plaguing not only our nation, but the world.  

I know far too many people in my life who have been victims of sexual assault; almost of these people know someone who is still friends with their assailant. There have been countless times I have been shut down when telling a friend about some guy who was a bit too pushy with women, and I am baffled each time.  

The first thing I do when someone tells me about an assailant is manifest a ruptured appendix, so it always catches me off guard when someone tries to defend a sexual predator. I have heard “well, I never had a problem with him” or “they’re not like that anymore,” far too many times, and I have reached my wits end with it.  

Why are we still making excuses for bad people? Sexual assault is not an offense that should be let go, let alone written off as not a big deal. Victims of sexual assault are changed for the rest of their lives, so why are we not doing the same for their assailants? Why do they get to live a normal life with no repercussions?  

Yes, “bros before hoes” and “people change” are sometimes valid counterarguments for normal disagreements, but not sexual assault. When someone tells you about a traumatizing experience that happened to them, you need to listen. Victims are all too often shunned or called liars.  

Brown University collected research about sexual assault and the stigma that surrounds it. The research suggested that only 5-10% of reported cases are false, a statistic commonly found in other crimes. People make stuff up sometimes, but wouldn’t you rather support a potential victim rather than a potential sex offender? Why are we giving assailants the benefit of the doubt rather than victims?  

This article may seem like a rant, and it probably is. I’m tired of telling friends about bad people and being told the information I presented was super surprising though. I don’t care if you’ve never had a problem with that guy before, I did. I care about the people he has negatively affected and how he doesn’t deserve my good energy. I don’t understand how someone can claim to be a person’s friend and defend their assailant in the same breath.  

Some people may read this and find it offensive. ‘You have to give people a second chance!’ I say no. How about we give sexual assault victims a second chance. How about we help them rebuild their lives and remove the person who hurt them from their surroundings. If someone claims to have been assaulted and you believe them, you have one less sexual predator in your life. Isn’t that worth trying to believe? 

To any victims of sexual violence, you’re not alone. You’re valid to be feeling whatever it is you’re feeling. It can be anger, sadness, confusion, betrayal or all of them. Never ever apologize for holding a friend’s or your own assailant responsible for their actions. And if you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m always more than happy to help someone through a tough time.  

Victims are not weak. They are not prudes or virgins or big babies. They most definitely are not responsible for what happened to them, so listen. Help them. Do not shut them out or give up on them. Give them a chance the same way you so desperately want to give their assailant, and you might just feel more fulfilled.  

If you need help, don’t hesitate to use the resources below. You are not alone! 

Title IX Coordinator at 402-375-7289, 24 hours/7 days a week 

Campus Security at 402-375-7216, 24 hours/7 days a week 

Campus Health Services at 402-375-7470. Regular business hours, Monday through Friday* 

Counseling Center at 402-375-7321. Regular business hours, Monday through Friday (24/7 through Campus Security)* 

Haven House Family Services Center. 24-Hour Crisis Line 1-800-440-4633 

RAINN National Sexual Assault 24-Hour Hotline 1-800-656-4673 (Hours: Available 24 hours)