Taking Action to End Sexual Assault

By Liz Tecuapeltla

Sexual assault is the use of force of power to make a person engage in sexual activity without their consent. Victims may be forced into sexual acts through verbal or nonverbal threats, through the use of alcoholic beverages, drugs, or even physical violence. Sexual assault is sometimes called sexual abuse. Rape is one form of sexual assault, but it’s not the only kind. Sexual assault can include forced kissing, touching, and groping, too. Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It happens to women, men, and people of all genders. However, women, LGBTQ people, trans and non-binary girls, and people of color are more likely to experience sexual assault than other people. Some of the most important challenges victims face are lasting emotional effects, which may manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, substance abuse issues, self-injury, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and more. Sexual assault can also result in physical problems, such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and wounds.

According to “Black Women and Sexual Violence” on now.org trans and non-binary girls of color experience higher rates of sexual assault and are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are the most common forms of psychological responses victims face. For African American women, sexual assault is one of the pervasive issues that routinely go unreported and under-addressed. Over eighteen percent of African American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and unfortunately, this percentage only accounts for the number of women who report their abuse. In my perspective, one of the actions that can be done on the issue of sexual assault that can lead to change includes reporting immediately any incidents of this nature even if you do not wish to pursue the matter further. It’s important to keep in mind that an assailant/attacker who is allowed to go free is a potential future danger. The assailant is not only a danger to you but to other members of the community. Another action that can be done for this issue is to become an active bystander if someone you know is being sexually abused. By this, I mean taking actions such as offering them support during traumatic experiences and encouraging them to contact counselors for emotional assistance and guidance.

My name is Lizette Tecuapetla and I am a junior who attends King Drew Magnet High School of  Medicine and Science. I have high standards set for myself in order to achieve my goal of graduating from high school and moving onto the next step in college to study Zoology.  I also have the ambition within me as a student activist to create change and equality in my community in order to empower others to do the same. I want to turn our world into a united and powerful place for every race and gender.