Sexual Assault- What’s happening and what don’t we know?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll probably be aware of the three categories that have occupied the headlines more than most, Trump, Brexit and Sexual assault.

More and more famous faces, both in the world of politics and entertainment are having their good reputations ripped from them as they are being shown as the sexual predators that they are. Women both famous and otherwise are no longer afraid to tell their stories and tell the world what they have faced, and that our idols are not what we think they are.

It’s not just celebrities, women who have been sexually assaulted by bosses, acquaintances and even strangers are breaking their silence.

Before I continue writing this article about sexual assault, there is something which I feel duty bound to confess.

I was wrong.

For several years now, I have been quite a big fan of the ‘controversial’ internet personalities such as Sargon of Akkad, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Christina Hoff Sommers. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore those individuals and many more like them.

But one idea that they have always pushed is that sexual assault is an incredibly rare occurrence and only the most unfortunate women experience it. The amount of women who are finally speaking about their experiences prove that idea false.

Something that I have found, which makes me incredibly angry is the party politicisation of sexual assault. By this, I mean that whenever somebody of a certain political party (or ideology) is revealed to have committed an unpleasant act, their supporters rush to mention all of the bad things done by members of the opposing party. Do people honestly think that somebody else sexually assaulting someone justifies the action?

If you’re a Tory and you sexually assault someone, you’re a scum-bag and you should be fired.

If you’re Labour and you sexually assault someone, you’re a scum-bag and you should be fired.

If you’re right wing and you sexually assault someone, you’re a scuba and you should be fired.

If you’re a left wing and you sexually assault someone, you’re a scum-bag and you should be fired.

The frustrating thing about sexual assault is that because we have only just started speaking about it, there is still a lot of information that we don’t know for sure.

The most important piece of information that we’re still missing is to what extent the male population is the source of this issue. There are two possibilities in regards to this:

  1. A large percentage of the male population are sexually assaulting women.
  2. A small percentage of the male population are sexually assaulting a large percentage of the female population.

Only by finding the problem can we truly find the solution.

A problem with how we are raised is that we are taught to focus on the consequences of our actions. On the surface, considering the consequences of what you’re doing seems like a sensible idea, but dig a little deeper and it’s clear that consequentialism could very well be playing a part in the sexual assault epidemic that is only just coming to the surface. Telling somebody to ‘think about the consequences of your actions’ gives them the impression that they can do whatever they wish, so long as they don’t get caught! I have a saying that I often like to remind myself of ‘If you do what’s right, the consequences will sort themselves out’.

Harvey Weinstein – the disgraced American film producer accused of multiple sexual assaults 

If you need further proof that consequentialism has played a role in the number of sexual assaults, consider the fact that almost all of them are done by men in higher positions of power to their victims. If you ask how many female employees have been assaulted by their boss, you’ll probably get a lot of people come forward. However, if you ask how many female bosses have been assaulted by their employees, the numbers will significantly drop.

Another reason why we’re still not clear on just exactly what the problem is that there is no set definition on what sexual assault is. Some people would argue that cat-calling qualifies as sexual assault as they are unwanted sexual advances. Most of those people would also argue that sending sexually explicit messages and pictures online is assault. I disagree!

Cat-calls and messages are mere words, and therefore completely harmless. They certainly shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as the likes of rape.

But the reality is that we will not be able to solve sexual assault if we cannot come to a consensus on the definition of that word.

In the wake of these new revelations, many people are quick to jump to the conclusion that the government needs to do something in order to combat sexual assault.

As a Libertarian, I am highly sceptical of the government. I do not believe that state intervention needs to be the solution to all of our problems. Nor do I think that state intervention is the best solution to all our problems. In fact, as you’re probably aware, some of the people who are part of the problem are also part of the state! All state intervention would do is to silence the victims even more as many of them would fear ruining the perpetrators life and record.

The only way that we can overcome sexual assault is to overcome prudishness. We need to stop being afraid or embarrassed to talk about what has happened to us. We need to call out assault whenever it happens, even if doing so makes us uncomfortable.


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