|Anyone who walks from the social science building up campus will notice a sea of red flags in one of the sections of grass between the walkways. Along the sidewalks are signs displaying rape statistics and one thanking the "real men" of campus. Rape and domestic violence are sensitive subjects, one of which certain groups on campus have taken head on. This recent display is the second flag display of the year, the first being the purple flag display for domestic violence awareness month during the fall. Although no one can argue that the information needs to get out on these sensitive issues, one must wonder about the event's focus on women.
This is not to say that abuse of women isn't a problem anymore; the statistics are gut-wrenching. One in six women are victims of sexual assault. There is no doubt that abuse of women is still a problem, and something should be done to, not only inform the public about the issue, but also to start solving it. Currently, actions are being taken in that direction, including the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). However, in all of this there seems to be little to no attention given to male victims.
Part of the reason for this lacking has to do with the male statistics, or at least the one that is more known. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in 33 men are victims of attempted or completed rape. This is still a number to consider, even though it is not as staggering as the one in six of women. Yet, there is another statistic involving men that not many people know about. The NCADV Male Victims of Violence Facts Web site states that one in six boys will be sexually abused by age 16. One in six; that is a significant number of victims that do not get mentioned.
When it comes to domestic violence, men are less likely to be the victim compared to women in heterosexual relationships. There aren't many statistics on domestic violence in lesbian relationships; however, the NCADV cites that 40 percent of gay and bisexual men will experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner.
Currently, domestic violence shelters in the area mostly provide services for women victims. Ogden has a specific women's shelter, which has been a vital resource in the community. Even the nationwide attempts at fighting rape and domestic violence such as VAWA are geared only toward women. There is no "violence against men act" to reflect the same types of actions that VAWA promotes.
So, what should be done? Without a doubt, domestic violence and rape are both issues that action should be taken against. Getting information out to the public is a great and useful form of action. But it is time that the statistics aren't limited to one gender. Put up the flags, get the information out there, let people know what they can do, but maybe at least one of those flags should represent the male victims.
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