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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

Into the light

FOJ Intern Kaleshna Udas ‘27 discussed the several abuse cases of women that weren’t taken seriously or brought into the spotlight. And any time they were, it usually never ended up in their favors.
Some+people+who+have+survived+an+assault+often+feel+like+theyre+living+in+the+shadows%2C+and+often+fear+those+shadows+much+more+often+than+before.
Lolowaro974 (Creative Commons)
Some people who have survived an assault often feel like they’re living in the shadows, and often fear those shadows much more often than before.

In 2021, financier Jeffrey Epstein was convicted of assaulting and human trafficking. Jeffrey was able to escape charges of sexual abuse before. In Florida, he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and spent minimal time in jail, and was released daily to go to his office. Epstein committed suicide in his cell. Over $121 million were paid to the victims, yet Epstein was never able to face his fate. Jeffrey had assaulted and trafficked up to 135 people.

The majority of sexual assault and rape cases haven’t been reported and the majority of survivors – who are 90% women, according to Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, known as RAINN, have gone silent. Believing the jury won’t hear them out, and their assaulter would go free. Knowing they could risk their entire reputation if lost, in a very public trial with a thousand sets of eyes inspecting them like they are a rare beetle under a microscope.

Women have to be sharp, alert, and able to defend themselves all the time. Anywhere, they can be a victim of abuse, with most of their cases being overlooked. Many haven’t recovered. As a high school student, I couldn’t begin to comprehend all the pain these women have gone through, And I hope to bring some of their pain into the light

“I’ve learned that some things are almost impossible to talk about because they’re things no one wants to know … Not even me.” – Kimberly Brubaker-Bradley, author of the novel “Fighting Words” and survivor of sexual abuse.

Eight out of 10 rapes are committed by someone the victim knew – according to “The Underreporting and Dismissal of Sexual Assault Cases Against Women In The United States”, with 31% of them being actually reported. 63% of assault cases go unreported, from the Sexual Assault Statistics in America – Facts and Stats 2024.

“‘But if you ever hear about it, don’t worry,’ he said, his words a little slurred by drink. ‘Alexandria’s the only one who remembers it.’ On the stairs, I froze. My family had always been silent about the abuse. But no one had ever implied that it hadn’t happened. My father kept talking. This moment that had changed everything inside me had changed nothing for him.” – Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of “The Fact of a Body : A Murder and a Memoir”

However, there are 28% of opposing viewpoints (typically against the #MeToo movement) that argue it’s very possible for people to falsely report being sexually harassed or assaulted. And I will say that it’s just as possible for most of the allegations to be right and the victims have every right to report their assault and have their voice be heard.

However, over a hundred rape victims are in prison for fighting back or killing their rapists. Despite the fact that their rapist is fifty pounds heavier, and probably had them in a forceful position that prevented the victims from getting out of their grasp. Some were close to death themselves. And when they did try to protect themself by grabbing a nearby kitchen knife or managing to get an arm free to punch or scratch them – It only gave a lawsuit, charges, and in severe debt from the government’s requests.

“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?” – Laurie Halse Anderson, author of “Speak”.

Solutions could vary from people seeing themselves in court and fighting for them, and sending messages of support to the wrongfully-incarcerated. Interview people who are making changes on the current legislations and policies regarding sexual assault and rape. Women could defend themselves by carrying around weapons when walking alone or at night. Women can also take martial arts for protection on the streets. Instead of victim-shaming, we should encourage the victims into seeking help and reporting their abuse. Convincing them that it is not their fault, no matter how many times it seems like it is. Everyone could do all these things and no one would have gotten as hurt as the thousands of victims and survivors.

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