Reading this to a few family members, I was shocked to hear their responses, particularly when relating the information to two male family members. The first, after being read the email, responded simply with, "Yes, that is, if she's even telling the truth." The second responded, "It's not big deal. There are [sexual predators] everywhere. They're in this neighborhood, they're in other neighborhoods, they're where we work, they're everywhere we go. Nothing you can do about it. Nothing to worry about." My mother, the only female in the residence at the time, was also the only person to become legitimately concerned for my wellbeing on the campus and the other girls on campus, as well as overtly sympathetic toward the actual female that was attacked.
Yes, sexual assault is not exactly rare. But the rate at which it occurs does not make it okay. Are we really so desensitized to this sort of thing that we allow it to become commonplace? After bringing this up with a friend, she said something that just might hold some truth: perhaps this has become commonplace because the message is always "Don't let yourself get raped" rather than "Do not rape."
Will you allow the women of your communities to become the "usual victims"? Or is sexual assault, particularly when it occurs in close-knit communities, something more to you than just another statistic?