What’s Sex Got to do With…Being a Bystander?


Over the years, more and more college campuses have become consumed by sexual assault. There are various cases that have come out and are currently coming out. Although this obvious problem exists (and is horrifying) college superiors don’t seem to be making much of an effort to rid their campuses of sexual violence. Along with this, college campuses have evolved into small little worlds overflowing with drugs, alcohol, and sex. College students have access to all of these things, which contribute to the commonality of sexual assaults on campuses. Recently, the University of Virginia uncovered terrifying news.


A freshman girl was gang raped at a fraternity party at UVA in 2012. The story finally emerged from her silence. A group of boys violently assaulted her in an upstairs room of a frat house. After she told her friends what happened, they convinced her to stay silent and not tell anyone. This is almost encouraging sexual assault. How could her friends remain bystanders? Friends like hers and people like that are part of the reason why sexual assault is not going away. The bystander affect is simply unacceptable and contributing to sexual assault on college campuses. Rape culture is becoming out of hand and society needs to come together to put it to an end.

Alcohol also plays a central role in the hook-up culture surrounding college students. Without alcohol, many students feel like they cannot gain self-confidence to show interest in other people or deal with potential rejection. By consuming alcohol—these worries momentarily disappear. Most college events are centered around alcohol as it is constantly acting as a “social lubricant.” The significant role that alcohol plays in the hook-up culture is slowly becoming a necessity. Along with this—I think alcohol is a leading factor in sexual assault. The young girl who was only a freshman at UVA was brutally attacked and then convinced to keep it a secret. As a society, we have to come together to end the bystander affect and help victims to speak up and receive justice. If we can make that happen it may help lessen sexual violence.


One thought on “What’s Sex Got to do With…Being a Bystander?

  1. I think there have definitely been attempts to encourage bystander intervention. Organizations like Green Dot here on Vanderbilt’s campus is just one example of an organization working to capitalize on the power of peer intervention with power based violence offenses. With sexual assault being so prevalent on college campuses, and may times preventable with bystander intervention- I think there should be more organizations like Green Dot here at Vanderbilt all over.


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