The language around Donald Trump’s behavior is exhausting. He’s a sexual predator who represents a larger number of our population than we want to admit. Chances are we all know someone, or have been on the receiving end of unwanted, sexual contact and for some reason it’s being talked about like “locker room banter.”
Humans are meaning makers and we learn who we are in relationship. When a strong emotional response is coupled with a traumatic experience, it sears a message into the brain. During such times, it’s normal for the limbic system to temporarily drive thoughts into the nonverbal realm. The problem is that these ideas get lodged without question and go on to unconsciously control our way of being in the world.
While the rate of sexual assault and rape has thankfully fallen 74% since 1993, every two minutes someone is still being sexually assaulted in this country. In fact:
- On average, there are 288,820 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years.
- From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services found evidence to indicate that 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse. Only 12% is reported to the authorities.
- One in four girls and one is six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. In eight out of ten cases, the assault will come from someone they knew.
- 63% of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape admitted to committing repeated assaults.
- One if five women will be raped in their life. 63% of which will never be reported.
The statistics are vital for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they tell the unspoken story of the prevalence of sexual violence in our society. So instead of arguing over points in the polls, we need to be asking ourselves why Mr. Trump’s behavior isn’t more galling. Where is our anger?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the detrimental effects sexual violence has on the development of one’s identity. What we need to understand is how often this is happening and find the courage to support one another in rewriting our narratives to accurately reflect the whole story.
Statistics courtesy of RAINN