COLUMN: We need to do more to protect women from sexual assault


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Columnist

There is a movement I have noticed happening in universities across the nation: a movement against sexual assault happening on university campuses.

Students at universities such as University of Iowa, Northwestern University, University of Kansas and many more have stood outside the lawns of fraternity houses with sexual assault allegations, signs in hand to protest.

I kept seeing all these photos and videos from the protests, and I felt so happy seeing students come together to fight not only against those fraternities, but also the universities that I’m sure have done little to nothing to protect their students.

I felt happy that more people across the nation were speaking out about this issue, rather than letting it be swept under the rug.

It had me thinking about the amount of advice women receive to stay safe around men.

With campus rape culture being so prominent, it is advice that I have received many a time during my time here at Eastern. Advice I’m sure many other women have heard.

Always carry pepper spray, a knife, or a gun. Share your location with your friends. Check the backseat before you get inside your car. Always hold your hand over your cup at parties. Don’t get too drunk. Don’t go anywhere alone. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Also, every once in a while I hop online to learn about a new anti-rape device. I’ve learned about nail polish that changes color in the presence of drugs such as GHB and Rohypnol. I’ve learned about a scrunchie that can be turned into a drink cover. I’ve learned of pendants that can be worn on necklaces or bracelets that one can use to call 911.

All these methods and devices for protecting ourselves exist, but they don’t necessarily make it less likely for women to get hurt.

When you think about it, all this advice only serves one purpose: making sure you are not the most vulnerable person in the room.

There will always be another woman who isn’t carrying a weapon. There will always be another woman who got too drunk. There will always be another woman who isn’t safe enough.

No matter how safe we are, there is always the possibility of risk. Someone will inevitably get hurt.

While women have all this advice thrown at them, the advice for men to not harm women is nonexistent. All the advice for keeping women safe puts that responsibility on women themselves, when it shouldn’t be like that.

This is why we need to teach boys early how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner, the importance of consent, etc. We need to teach them the types of things that will make sure men do not continue to be violent toward women and girls for the years to come.

My hope is that if we do this work now, maybe someday in the future, we can live in a world where women don’t have to live in fear of being hurt, raped, or killed the second they step out of their homes.

Maybe we can live in a world where we don’t have to protest to finally have our voices be heard.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].