Sexual Assault Hurts Everyone

Alex Gregory
August 22, 2011

“I do think it’s quite fabulous,” Sharon Osbourne declared on a recent episode of CBS’s “The Talk.”

But she wasn’t commenting on makeup, books, or typical talk show fodder. She was applauding a California woman who cut off her husband’s penis and put it in the garbage disposal.

The five co-hosts giggled and speculated, even going so far as to reenact the scene at the sink and discuss whether he may have “deserved it.”

These women are paid to act like eighth grade girls around the lockers at lunchtime, but typically I don’t even mind their childish demeanors. Do as you please, CBS, but stick to new recipes and fall clothing lines.

Don’t endorse sexual abuse. In a culture so committed to “equal rights” for women, men’s rights to sexual integrity often get swept under the rug.

Gruesome physical assault is no joke. Would a national news network ever air women laughing about another woman having her clitoris cut off in Somalia?

Making jokes about a man who had his genitals cut off is offensive, too. If five men sat around a table on a national news network, laughing about the violent abuse of a woman, outrage would ensue.

However, when women applaud a female perpetrator, it’s no longer about abuse. Suddenly, women are fighting for that mythical empowerment and retribution they’ve deserved for years.

By encouraging violence, abuse, and gender discrimination, these ladies shed light upon a repulsive double standard.

Society almost always considers rape and sexual assault as a crime committed solely against women. And even when a man’s traumatic experience is brought to light, “high-five, bro” comments ensue.

When a 33-year-old female teacher allegedly filmed the rape of a 17-year-old male student in early August, multiple comments on the CBS New York story online reflected these sexist double standards.

“Dang, why couldn’t I have a hot, willing teacher like that when I was in high school?” one person asked.

And another wrote “That’s one lucky kid that will have a wonderful lasting memory!”

A wonderful lasting memory of helplessness and humiliation?

According to a National Institute of Justice report, an estimated 2.78 million men have experienced rape at some point, and 71 percent of these victims were raped before their eighteenth birthday.

To call these young men “lucky” is absurd.

And even here at ASU, standard assumptions prevail. “As a female, avoid parties where males greatly outnumber females,” ASU’s campus security policy states. The policy goes on to discuss the Rape Aggression Defense Systems, “a 12-hour training course designed to maximize the physical defensive abilities of women.”

I guess men have to fend for themselves.

Yes, rape is more physically plausible with a male perpetrator. But under the influence of drugs, alcohol—or just social pressure— both genders are capable of violating physical wishes.

Furthermore, in an atmosphere where men are called “lucky” after sexual contact in any context, women feel entitled to sex whenever they want it. They’re doing him a favor, they think, so why not?

Like all social norms, change will come slowly. But it’s on its way, and we should work to reel it in. While “The Talk”’s ladies’ public apology lacked sincere discussion of the double standard at hand, it indicated at least a minor public outcry — a step in the right direction.

Colleges should take the next step forward. Where young people are coming to terms with responsibility, sexuality and consequences, sexual abuse guidance should be made available to everyone.

Not only will this provide practical support, but it will also help dispel the myth that men don’t suffer from sexual abuse.