By Christopher Millman
Recently I was with hanging out with some of my friends at a friend’s house one night. One of the guys had to go to his car in the parking lot across the street, so another one of the guys made one last remark as he was departing. He said, “If you get raped yell fire…everyone wants to see a fire.”
This casual comment is alarming for a few reasons. First, the fact it was so casually dropped into conversation shows that the extent to which our culture takes the issues around sexual assault seriously is not as high as it should be. When I asked my friend why he thought to say that, he claimed it is a common saying. For this to be a common saying in our culture, then it is normalized to downplay the seriousness of occurrences such as rape. This comment was meant to be funny, and was meant to suggest that there is no way that that would ever actually happen. By living in a society where it is so normalized to joke about issues of sexual assault and assume it doesn’t occur, there is limited education and discussion of prevention methods.
Another alarming point of the comment is the truth that comes hidden in the part, “everyone wants to see a fire.” By adding this part, it insinuates that the person should yell “Fire!” because people would not want to come if the person yelled “Rape!” Rape is construed in our society as such a confusing, violent, and dirty event, that people would not want to become involved as a bystander or intervene if someone yelled for help. They could put themselves in danger or not understand the context of the situation, or even worse…..be a cock block! Obviously all of this is not necessarily true of sexual assault cases, but media and the lack of education keeps these images and ideas in mind.
Party with Consent serves as an outlet to get conversations going about sexual violence prevention, general education, and bystander intervention. Once we live in a society where people are educated in the issues of consent and sexual assault, we will not as a society shy away from helping our fellow human in need. One more case of sexual assault is far too many in our world, and people need to be ready to intervene, and people need to know that if they need help they don’t need to yell “Fire!” for someone to save them.