Stop Sexual Assault (copy)

The ISD Editorial Board explains the importance of believing and supporting survivors of sexual assault. 

Editor's Note: Editorials are representative of the views of all Editorial Board members. One or two members will compile these views and write an editorial.

Content warning: This editorial contains information pertaining to sexual assault. 

Iowa State University administration has received crime warnings for sexual assaults three times since the beginning of the semester, including a case that occurred on university property outside of the main campus this past Saturday. 

What is important to know beyond these recent crime warnings is that most sexual assaults are not reported. As few as one in five victims report their sexual assault, according to the Start by Believing website.

This means that when a sexual assault is reported, we as humans need to support survivors and that starts with believing what they say. According to the Blue Bench website, survivors of sexual assault first tell someone they know about their assault, and, if they aren’t believed, they won’t tell anyone else. What this means is that the survivor won’t report or seek counseling or other support services, leaving them completely isolated in dealing with their trauma, which can be incredibly overwhelming.

Therefore, believing a survivor when they tell you that they have been sexually assaulted is incredibly important. One instance of caring and the ability to share their story can allow a survivor to step on the path toward healing.

Chances are, someone in your life is a survivor of sexual harassment, assault or abuse, even if they have never shared their story with you. The ​​Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that 13 percent of all college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. Among graduate and professional students, 9.7 percent of females and 2.5 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Among undergraduate students, 26.4 percent of females and 6.8 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

Once again, this means that we as college students are likely to know a survivor and believing them is vital to reducing the stigma around sexual assault and helping survivors to heal. 

A common argument used against believing all survivors is that by believing survivors we go against the United States’ criminal justice system’s value of “innocent until proven guilty.” By automatically believing survivors, some argue, we are bypassing a fair trial and slapping a “guilty” label on the alleged perpetrator with no proof.

 This is in no way true.

“Believe survivors” has never meant that there should be no process, no investigation, no systems to receive and weigh a serious complaint of harm. That’s because survivors are telling the truth the vast majority of the time. Statistics show that 90 to 98 percent of reports of sexual assault are found to be true, which is the same for other violent crimes, according to a report from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Meeting a survivor’s story with empathy and belief should be our first response, not skepticism.

Believing survivors while also calling for due process are not contradictory elements; rather, these are complementary necessities. Whether someone is found guilty or innocent in the criminal justice system does not reflect whether or not a survivor’s story is true. Believing survivors says nothing about an alleged perpetrator’s innocence or guilt, but it says everything about how we as fellow humans view sexual assault. Believing a survivor can empower them to heal and end the stigma around sexual assault.

All it takes is saying “I believe you.”

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(3) comments

Seymour Trout

It’s preposterous to claim tht 98% of all rape accusations are true. Women often lie about sex and rape. One small town with a manageable number of rape cases drilled down on every one of them and found that the women lied in about 40% of them. According to the study, reasons why women make false rape accusations include: “providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.”

Do you really claim that we should believe Crystal Magnum’s false rape accusation in the Duke lacrosse hoax? Do you really believe “Jackie’s” claim she was gang raped at a UVA frat house? The judge did not and fined Rolling Stone $1.5 million for printing the hoax. Do you believe Tawana Brawley’s lie that she was gang-raped by four policemen? The courts did not.

The facts, according to the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, are that the rate of rape and sexual assault is lower for college students (at 6.1 per 1,000) than for non-students (7.6 per 1,000). That’s one rape per 164 students, which is far from one rape in five shouted by feminist liars. Given that ISU dorms hold about fifty students, on average, that’s one rape per three dorm houses.

What's more, between 1997 and 2013, rape against women dropped by about 50%, in keeping with a more general drop in violent crime nationally. So, the unhinged feminists claiming that there is a rising rape epidemic are lying. These fear mongering idiots see rape in the clouds, in their soup, in the dust bunnies under their beds. Are you dumb enough to believe them?

What these rape hoaxers are doing in demanding you believe all rape accusations is man-hating. They want you to believe women just because they are women without any examination of the facts. It is sheer gender bigotry, which is supposedly what feminists falsely claim to oppose. How about instead of blindly believing women, you believe the facts where ever they lead?

Ben Woeber

This article is absolutely ridiculous. It is disgusting that such a single-minded viewpoint is allowed to be published even in the opinion section. This isn't an opinion, its outright deception. The author is clearly living in an alternate reality, there simply isn’t any other way to explain it. Anyone who is familiar with Title IX policy in recent years regarding sexual assault knows it has failed to provide due process and cross examination and that countless victims who have been wrongfully accused have had their lives destroyed at the hands of kangaroo courts. I'm not denying that many accusers are truthful the majority probably are but to say 98% of all accusations are true is completely ridiculous. By saying believe women what you are really saying is anyone who is wrongfully accused of sexual assault and who tries to defend themselves is a liar. They don't matter, and they are guilty as soon as a claim is filed, and we shouldn't even consider the possibility that a woman may have a reason for not being truthful. Why not talk about possible scenarios in which a woman may not be truthful. For example, a woman willingly sleeps with someone whom her friend is interested in. When the friend finds out she is upset and instead of dealing with the consequences of her decision like an adult she claims that is was not consensual. True feminism and true equality is better than this. All this is doing is creating a breeding ground for more sexism and distrust, and setting back true equality. The arguments in this article are only serving to appease the faux feminists and crusaders of phony equality for political gain, those who believe sexism is something that only harms women and when it harms men its called feminism, equality and progress. Anybody who has more than a flimsy one-sided view of this issue knows what inequities are being perpetrated. The fact that people who claim to be educated are so easily falling for these claims is disturbing. We are better than this Iowa State.

excuse mylogic

"Believe all women" is a garbage slogan that grants the premise that all rape victims are truthful. Men's lives can be destroyed by false rape accusations. If we believe the woman instantly, without any outside facts or information, that man has been branded as a potential rapist, which is as good as a conviction to the general public. Even if the man is completely innocent, the way people view him will never be the same. This can destroy lives, for both women AND men. Should we listen to all women? Yes! Should we take their accusations seriously and encourage them to pursue legal action? Absolutely! But we should never believe them instantaneously, without taking into account the massive detrimental effect on a man who could very well be innocent.

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