“This is not something we can ignore.”

A presidential candidate’s recent comments about sexually assaulting women exposes what needs to change in our culture in order to end sexual violence. Bragging or joking about sexual violence feeds into a culture where sexual assault is normalized and deemed acceptable. This concept is nothing new, by definition rape culture is the very idea of being surrounded by images, language and other occurrences that not only allows but justifies sexual violence. It means that we are continually being exposed to all forms of media and content that sexualizes and trivializes violence, especially toward women and girls.

To dismiss these comments as “locker room talk” is an insult to boys and men. CAWS North Dakota encourages nonviolent relationships and promotes social change. We echo First Lady Michelle Obama’s statement “This is not something we can ignore.”

The National Sexual Assault Hotline had a 33% increase in online sessions since the comments were aired. Sexual Assault affects all of us. Every two minutes someone becomes a victim of sexual assault in the United States.

We all can help prevent sexual violence. We need to let those in power, as well as those around us know that this is not acceptable. Stand up, intervene, say something when you hear “locker room talk.”