This article was originally published at Conscious Magazine.
I can't tell you how many times in college we were given the advice, "don't put your drink down." From mace to color changing nail polish, it is ingrained in the minds of women that you simply have to protect yourself if you don't want to be sexually assaulted.
There's a problem with that though. This "boys will be boys" way of thinking makes sexual assault seem similar to the weather—something we have no control over.
With 1 in 5 women being sexually assaulted during their college career, I am certain we're surrendering to a problem that we can change. When we are telling women and girls that they must protect themselves, we are indirectly telling them that it will be their fault if they are sexually assaulted. This results in delayed reporting, victim shaming, inaccuracy in statistics and perpetrators remaining at large. It perpetuates a vicious cycle.
Why is it up to us women to protect ourselves? Shouldn't colleges be promoting our safety and holding accountable anyone that poses a threat to our well-being?
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