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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Protect everyone

The best way to prevent sexual assault is with education, programs and open discussions meant to identify the problems involving sexual assault in today’s world.

All too often, however, these tactics fail and sexual assaults are attempted or occur.

In that moment, proper self-defense training can mean the difference between a tragedy and a tragedy avoided.

Currently, the IU Police Department offers the Rape Aggression Defense and IUPD2 programs, both of which focus on self-defense training. These programs are also solely ?offered to women.

It’s all too often that programs like this, created and organized with good intentions, inadvertently portray some very harmful values or beliefs.

While I don’t argue that these programs are good for the campus, restrictions placed on gender are harmful to the overall campus atmosphere on a level that many don’t see.

By offering self-defense classes solely to women, a perception is created where women are seen as the only victims of sexual assault and other violent crimes. In reality, this isn’t even close to being the case.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, men are more likely to be victims of serious physical assault than women, who are more likely to be victim of sexual assault.

However, numbers aren’t everything. One person, regardless of gender, being sexually assaulted is one person too many.

By offering self-defense classes solely to women we’re implying, whether we intend to or not, that female victims of violence are victims because they’re inherently weaker than men, not because said ?at tackers are violent.

It also implies that male victims of violence, especially sexual violence, are victims because they’re weak. It stigmatizes men who’ve been victimized, which results in a lack of reporting, a lack of discussion and a lack of overall acknowledgement of ?male-targeted violence.

Through my role as an IU Student Association Congressman, I authored a resolution to encourage IUPD to expand their Rape Aggression Defense and IUPD2 programs to be offered to both males and ?females.

To support the privacy and possible wishes of participants, I agreed that separating the class by gender when requested is the best option.

It’s exceedingly important to me that all students be afforded the opportunity to receive training from our police department in ?manners such as these.

Treating crimes as different between the genders when it comes to prevention makes little to no sense.

Rape, sexual assault and violent crime are societal problems that need to be addressed by everyone.

Every single pe rson should be aware of these programs, how to prevent violent crime and how to combat it if they’re ?confronted with it.

Those locked in battle cannot pick and choose who wants to assist.

Likewise, we can’t pick and choose who we want to be able to protect ?themselves.

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