Opinion

The Societal “Grey Area”of Sexual Assault

0 27

By Shawna Healey


Warning: contains discussion of sexual assault.

I have been lucky that in twenty years in the world, I have never, unlike one in five women in the UK, experienced sexual assault. When we consider statistics like this, however, we must bear in mind that there is a grey area, in which accounts of certain types of sexual assault fall by the wayside in comparison to more “extreme” instances.

Almost all of my female friends have stories of creepy men touching them or behaving inappropriately, but these never progress to anything beyond stories between friends. Cases of being touched unwillingly in a club or on public transport go unreported, because often, there is nobody there to listen – women who do attempt to report such things are often told that “nothing really happened” and that “there are people dealing with actual sexual assault”.

Only two percent of reported rape cases result in prosecution, so what hope is there for victims of anything perceived as less severe?

For too long, our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, partners and friends have put up with this kind of behaviour from men, and so much so that their trauma is swept under the carpet with the utterance of “boys will be boys” that we all so commonly hear.

I hesitate to say it, because at this point it has almost become a cliché, but the #MeToo movement has brought about vital change and public enlightenment with regard to rape and sexual assault. Despite this, however, I struggle to see any light in the tunnel for victims of these socially diminished crimes. Unless we radically change the way we think about consent and bodily autonomy, inappropriate touching will continue to be a blight on women’s existence, and men will only live to be a part of the tale that women fearfully exchange with one another.

About the author / 

Shawna Healey

I'm Shawna, 20 and Welsh studying Geography at MMU. I have varying interests and opinions but usually its all things feminism.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • “I’m not embarrassed, I’m traumatised”: the truth behind smear test figures

    By Brontë Schiltz Content warning: contains mentions of sexual assault. Just over a month ago, we passed the ten year anniversary of Jade Goody’s death. On March 22nd 2009, at the age of just 27, the television personality and mother of two young children succumbed to cervical cancer. In the months following Goody’s death, gynaecologists…

  • Preview: JAWS UK Tour

    By Georgina Hurdsfield JAWS kicked off their UK tour last night with a sold out show in Glasgow at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. With the release of their new album The Ceiling, we are excited to hear some new material live. The hit Birmingham band consists of Connor Schofield, Eddy Geach and Alex Hudson, who…

  • Simon Stephens Presents – Event At The Royal Exchange Theatre Showcases Young Talent

    By Ben Thompson Last night, the Royal Exchange Theatre hosted an event to showcase the talents of ten theatre students, performing seven extracts from a variety of pieces which they had been given just an hour to rehearse. Playwright Simon Stephens – also a honorary professor at the Manchester Writing School – hosted the event,…