19-year-old Sonya* is college student in the beginning of the first semester of her second year. As a millennial who grew up in the age of social media, scrolling through Facebook as a study break was routine. But this semester, Facebook wasn’t the boredom quick-fix like it used to be.
*not a real person
It’s like rape is everywhere.
A year ago, Sonya became one of the 1 in 5 women who are sexually assaulted during their college years. It’s a fact, she soon afterward decided, is going to change her forever. Sonya has always been a woman unashamed to speak her mind. Becoming a survivor of sexual was now another truth she regularly proclaimed. Determined to counter the harmful rape myths that abound in our culture, she never hesitated to correct family, friends, and strangers alike if they said something victim-blaming, well-meaning but ignorant, or just plain wrong.
But now it seems impossible to keep up.
With the likes of Brock Turner and Donald Trump dominating the news cycle, Sonya has seen a sickeningly amount of ignorance about sexual violence and trauma she’s come across - from random people on the Internet to movie stars to the President-Elect of the United States.
Do this many people really not get it?
The Internet and rise of social media is an anti-rape advocate and/or survivor’s best friend — or worst enemy. Digital media has enabled us to reach unprecedented levels of awareness about sexual violence and rape culture.
But it's also exposed us to an unprecedented amount of hostile attitudes and triggering contents and information that's just plain wrong.