Free speech allows us to discuss world problems

Alyssa Cravens, Staff Reporter

Freedom of speech is one of the most important principles our nation was founded on.

People who are given this privilege are incredibly lucky, but with fortune also comes responsibility.

The recent social media wave, #blueforsudan, calling for awareness and solidarity in light of a media ban during the Sudan massacres, personally terrified me and brought into reality the fact that not everyone has the ability to share their story, take a stand and cry for help during their time of need.

It got me thinking about all the complications people around the world face daily, and I have come to the conclusion there are still way too many things people are not talking about.

Young Men Facing Assault

Taking into account the Time’s Up and Me Too era, it’s problematic to say no one is talking about sexual assault; these movements are empowering women to come forward, take action and seek healing and justice.

While women are statistically more likely to experience sexual assault (one in six women as opposed to one in 33 men in the U.S., according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), it is still important to let men know they are safe to come forward and disclose rape, especially in a culture that teaches boys should be “tough,” “strong” and “indestructible.”

It is something to talk about, particularly on college campuses, as RAINN reports that male college students are five times more likely to experience sexual assault than non-students of the same age.

Women’s Issues Around the World

The U.S. has its fair share of gender equality issues; however, there are still women in the world facing child marriage, genital mutilation, a lack of access to education and jobs and ridiculously high rates of gender-based violence.

According to a 2018 poll by Trustlaw, a division of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, countries such as India, Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan are among the most dangerous in the world for women as they are still practicing rituals such as throwing acid in women’s faces, stoning or beating them to death, and forcing female infanticide, all because it is part of “cultural tradition.”

Additionally, pregnancy is risky for women in developing countries because of the lack of healthcare; the World Health Organization found in 2018 roughly 830 women died daily of preventable causes related to childbirth and pregnancy—99 percent of which occurred in developing countries.

Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

People often think of slavery as a sad and unjust piece of the past, but the truth of the matter is there are more slaves today than ever before in human history.

Slavery and human trafficking are a booming industry, generating 150 billion dollars annually, according to International Justice Mission; it is estimated that there are over 40 million slaves across the globe, an entire fourth of those being children.

It happens every single day, in nearly every country, yet it is seldom discussed in comparison to the scale on which it takes place.

Sustainable Big Business

Most everyone has heard about the staggeringly awful conditions which scientists and experts say the earth is in.

Industry emits too much carbon dioxide, the earth’s climate is rising at a rapid rate and society is addicted to plastic.

These are fairly common topics of conversation, yet we are lacking in a discussion of how to actually address these issues, or at least chip away at their excessive impact.

I try to live an environmentally and sustainably driven lifestyle, but the way of the world has made it nearly unmanageable, and I am not convinced individual adjustments are enough to dig people out of the waste-covered hole that has been created in result of the constant demand for resources.

It is time to begin talking about the huge corporations that are packaging everything from food to clothing to household cleaners and home décor in plastic and chemicals, or the manufacturers producing thousands upon thousands of pounds of waste and releasing it into the atmosphere and oceans.

Clean Water

Having access to clean drinking water is something I take for granted each and every day.

According to Charity Water, there are 663 million people in the world without clean drinking water.

Water is vital for a human body to live, but it also affects nearly every part of life for those who do not have it.

Drinking dirty water can cause infection, disease and even death.

Many women and young girls walk hours a day to fetch clean drinking water, taking up time that could have otherwise been spent growing food, working and providing for a family, or in school.

People know these problems exist.

Perhaps it is easier to push them to the side and only focus on certain issues, or maybe they just do not realize the mass scale of the problems, but it is time to start talking.

Many horrible things take place in the world; it is a daunting task to fix everything that is broken.

Change is difficult, but not impossible.

People have the power to use their voice.

Alyssa Cravens is a junior communication major. She can be reached at 581 -2812 or at [email protected].