EDITORIAL: Saying ‘it happens to men, too’ misses the point

EDITORIAL%3A+Saying+%27it+happens+to+men%2C+too%27+misses+the+point

Alexia Barton, Page Editor

One of the best things that has come about in 2021 so far is more and more women coming forward about their harassment and assault stories. It is amazing to see something women used to be terrified to talk about finally be addressed and for them to finally get the justice that they deserve. And as more data is collected and more statistics are released, the less alone these women are feeling. But with every positive there comes a negative. To a lot of women sharing their stories, one comment is frequently made: “it happens to men, too.” 

This statement, of course, holds truth: there are many men in the world who have their own sexual assault stories and those stories deserve to be heard by the world. Nobody disagrees with the fact that those men deserve justice of their own, but only bringing up the stories of male survivors to silence female victims is in extremely wrong.

Most women who have had these experiences have been terrified to stand up and talk about their stories for years. Statements like “you were asking for it” or “what were you wearing” have silenced their voices and made them question the legitimacy of what happened to them, so when they finally find their voice to speak, silencing them with the trauma of male survivors is just as bad.

Male survivors deserve to have their chance to speak. They deserve to get the help they need and desire. But bringing up their trauma only when women speak about theirs is not only harmful to women, but it’s harmful to the men, too. It teaches these men that their trauma should only be discussed when needed to compare it to female victims.

At the end of the day, everybody deserves to have their story heard. Sexual assault is something that is a real problem in the world for both men and women. Stop silencing people and their stories and take time to listen. Listening is the first step to figuring out how to solve this problem facing the world.