Sexual assault is any forced, unwanted, and nonconsensual sexual contact or activity including touching, kissing exhibitionism, and any type of sexual intercourse. Sexual assault is a crime of violence, the purpose of which is to overpower or control another individual. Sexual assault is something that can happen to a person of any race, age, or gender, and is feared throughout the public. Sexual assaults happen everyday. To some of us, the fear of sexual assault is one of our biggest fears next to death. Why are we so scared of sexual assault? The answer to that question could be the way the media portrays rape and molestation or we could fear sexual assault due to our own experiences with it. Media plays a massive part in our way of thinking about events that happen in the world today. Many things are said in the news, newspapers, movies, and other sources of media that influence what the public will think about sexual assault. The facts that come from our media seem to be a dramatization of the true facts, which make the publics fears more dramatized. To know the true facts, the statistics about sexual assault, and how often it really happens, I think research is needed. He or she who is a victim of sexual assault can clearly rely on their own experience to influence their decision of whether or not sexual assault should be or how much it should be feared.

The media is everywhere and is hard to escape it. When the media mentions something about sexual assault we cant help but want to know what the story is about, especially when the news reporters say things that scare you. Barry Glassner in his book, The Culture of Fear, says that, “Some of the risks reported by such programs would be merely laughable were they not hyped with so much fanfare: “Don’t miss Dateline tonight or YOU could be the next victim!” “Television news programs survive on scares. On local news casts, where producers live by the dictum “if it bleeds, it leads,” drug, crime and disaster stories make up most of the news portion of the broadcast. These kinds of stories are designed to grab our attention so that they can boost their ratings. Glassner tells when a professor at Hunter College interviewed women in New York City about their fears of crime,” They frequently responded with the phrase,” I saw it in the news.” The interviewees identified the news medias both the source of their fears and the reason they believed those fears were valid.

By hearing these hyped stories in the media about sexual predators and being assaulted, they make us think differently about the way we should live our lives. The media can make us want to live more cautiously, and make us fear whether or not we are going to be potential victims of a sexual assault crime. The fear of being a potential victim can also come from the stories of other people. It makes one think that if it happened to a person that you know, it can happen to you. I’m sure that its possible that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen to you. We live our lives different, we take certain precautions to avoid running into an incident related to sexual assault. Some of these precautions might include never walking alone if you’re a woman or child, or avoiding someone who looks like a sexual predator.

Worrying too much about trying to protect us can change our lives. We might spend so much time worrying that we miss out on good opportunities. Like missing out, the media and public focus more time and money on making others fear sexual assault rather than spending time and energy on more important things such as education.

We should know about rape and become better informed so that we will be cautious, but not fear the problem of sexual assault. Barry Glassner also states in his book, The Culture of Fear that “We had better learn to doubt our inflamed fears before they destroy us. Valid fears have their place; they cue us to danger. False and overdrawn fears only cause hardship.” Information from Glassner also says that, “We all pay one of the costs of panic: huge sums of money go to waste.” Glassner explains that everyone worries about fear more than using his or her time more wisely. The National Violence Against Women Study, state that one out of six women and one out of thirty-three men in the United States will suffer from a sexual assault in their lifetime. This may be true, but being afraid of the situation will only make us scared. Being strong and just being informed and ready for whatever happens is a good way to live, because if it does happen, you are ready to overcome it.


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