By Waverli Rainey, Contributor
It might be common knowledge, but in case the readers are unaware, I am going to drop a horrific statistic. Alaska is the state with the highest rate of violent sexual assault in the entire country. If that wasn’t shocking, how about this: More than one in three women (37 percent) of women in Anchorage are estimated to have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime.
In a state that has so many victims and such a serous problem with sexual assault, one would think that UAA would be more prudent in who they brought to the university to talk about “healthy sexual relationships.” Dan Savage, although he has worked to bring same-sex relationships into the discussion of healthy relationships, has dealt with victims of rape and sexual assault with appalling insensitivity.
In response to a letter sent to him from a girl who was a victim of assault and was not ready to have sexual relations with her boyfriend, Dan Savage responded, “Your baseless accusations of rape make me doubt your claim to be a survivor of rape. The feminist bloggers are going to accuse me of thought crimes: If a woman says she was raped then, by God, she was raped.”
This wasn’t just a one-time thing, though.
“It looks to me like you want out of this marriage. But instead of taking responsibility for wanting out, you’re playing the victim card while slamming both hands down on your marriage’s self-destruct button,” Savage said to a married woman who had PTSD.
As a victim of sexual assault myself, I am telling you that the things Savage has said to victims of sexual assault is not OK. He has no idea how damaging comments like that are to a person, and his history of hateful comments does not at all promote healthy sexuality.
I hear people everywhere say victims were “asking for it” or are lying.
Those thoughts sometimes knock around in my head, and for a moment I believe them.
The thing is, sexual assault is never the fault of the victim, no matter the circumstances — and someone who claims to be an advocate for safe sexual relationships should know that.
The university should be ashamed to have this man speaking to their students about safe sex, especially given the state we live in.
The only reason I am bringing up my own personal experience with assault is because I think sexual assault needs to be talked about in a healthy way, and it is never something to be ashamed of.
And if Dan Savage disagrees with me, I welcome him to come talk to me about personally.