A Reality Check

The Sexual Survey

Maya Levine, Editor

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Many Park City High School Seniors do not take discussions of sexual assault and harassment seriously. This is apparent through a recent student survey sent to all PCHS seniors. The survey sought insight into the rates of sexual assault and harassment among seniors in the Park City School District for an investigative news story. These statistics would be compared to national averages to determine the culture, advocacy, and knowledge of our students. More specifically,  to begin to understand why the statistics are the way they are and how Park City’s society affects this.

 

However, creating conclusions about the statistics will be problematic, as several members of the senior class gave out false information to the survey. The PC Prospector received multiple phone calls shortly after the questionnaire was sent out, describing stories of people overhearing others joke about sexual assault and describing their “amusing,” yet inaccurate responses. It is evident that some students find it entertaining to make up stories discussing sexual assault. Still, to blindly joke about sexual assault or harassment not only hurts survivors of sexual assault, but can also trigger past memories that could potentially cause increased levels of anxiety, fear, or depression.

 

Making fun of sexual assault also promotes rape culture which is defined as the normalization of sexual violence and rape and is perpetuated by the glamorization of sexual violence through daily language that can be used in advertisements, music, art and more. Many seniors might claim they are in no way promoting rape culture or sexually objectifying people despite the fact that they submitted these false responses on the survey.

 

By purposely altering research revolving around sexual assault and then proceeding to joke about it, is a form of glamorization. In doing this, people disregard that, throughout history, people have not been taken seriously when coming forward about their assault and have often been blamed for the incident. This fact applies to everyone. For example, the misogynistic language used to describe rape culture is part of the reason men who face sexual assault find it difficult to come forward. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, not just women.

 

So, Park City High School Seniors and all PCHS students think of the effects from joking about “raping that test” or creating false claims on a survey pertaining to sexual assault. Though these actions may seem little, just one could result in negative flashbacks, or PTSD, for any student who may have faced sexual assault themselves.

 

While many students most likely won’t see the physical harm they cause, take note of the centuries of misogyny the people saying these “jokes” are blatantly participating in, which lays the foundation for victims to feel like sexual assault was their fault, among other terrible emotions thrown upon them from our society. Take note of the people these “jokes” might be hurting. A joke about sexual assault does not mean what a person is saying or doing shouldn’t be taken seriously. These jokes have hurt your peers and this is not a school environment that any of us should be participating in.

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A Reality Check