Opinion: Not All Men, But All Women

Students participate in a march to the KC stacks for Take Back the Night, an event that took place on April 16. The Take Back the Night event was intended to be a safe place for students to share their experiences with sexual assault (Photo by Savannah Waddick).

The number 97% has been all over social media recently due to a study that was released on March 10. The study stated 97% of women from the ages of 18-24 have been sexually harassed in public. Whereas, 70% of women of all ages have been sexually harassed in public.

This statistic is shocking and alarming in the sense that there is a seven out of ten chance a woman you know has been sexually harassed.

A study conducted in 2015 found that 19% of women have been sexually assaulted during their freshman year of college. First-year students are at an increased risk of sexual assault, with more than half happening in September through November.

Nearly one in five women on a college campus at some point in their years of study will experience sexual assault. One could be the girl sitting next to you in class or even be you. Being a victim of sexual assault comes with a lot of confusion and on top of that comes societal pressures that can be suffocating.

In response to the rise in sexual assault awareness for women, some men have cleared themselves and others of guilt by association and declaration that “not all men” are responsible. In a fight against this argument, Morgan St. Jean released a song on April 2, titled “Not All Men.”

St. Jean argues that while it is not all men, it is all women. She explicitly states in the first chorus of the song, “It’s not all men, but it’s some of them.” In every other repetition of the chorus, she changes it to, “It’s not all men but it’s all women.”

In the song, St. Jean explores what women go through to protect themselves from assault and harassment and the feelings that follow.

St. Jean opens up the song with, “Have you ever walked a little faster after midnight when you’re all alone? Have you ever pulled your jacket tighter while pretending that you’re on the phone? Have you ever held your tongue when someone tried to call you ‘baby’? If you say a word, he’s gonna call you crazy.”

She is referring to all the things that women do to try and protect themselves from sexual assault or what the fears of sexual assault have done to them.

Following the first verse, St. Jean said, “Well, I have and she has, too. This is a reflection of not only her experience but the experiences of the 70% of all women that have faced sexual harassment.

In the second verse, St. Jean said, “Have you ever blamed yourself for drinking? Thinking maybe you’re the reason why?” This is a reference to the common misconception that if you are under the influence, any potential instances of sexual assault are your fault.

St. Jean continues the second verse, “Have they ever said that you were lying ’cause he’s handsome and he’s way too nice?” She acknowledges a common fear for potential sexual assault victims since an estimated 73% of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows while 28% are committed by an intimate partner.

St. Jean ends the verse with, “If you tell the truth they say his life is ruined.” This comes in regards to what victims are often told and what they may tell themselves when they are considering reporting their assailant.

In the final verse, St. Jean lists off several negative comments that survivors may worry about hearing. Some of the comments include that, “their words are like a bad tattoo: too prude, she was asking for it, trust issues, bad news, she was f—— boring, she was such a whore and ugly in the morning.”

With these short few lines, St. Jean is able to cover a lot of different fears, but she also just skims the layer of embarrassment survivors feel. Such feelings are one of the reasons that sexual assault is so highly underreported, at 80% being underreported.

In two minutes and 59 seconds, St. Jean covers what many women do on a regular basis to try and protect themselves, why women are scared to report instances of sexual assault and what a sexual assault survivor feels due to societal pressures.

St. Jean rebukes the argument that it’s not all men by stating that “we all know that it’s not all men, but it’s some of them.” Instead, “it’s not all men, but it’s all women, so we hold our breath nonetheless.”

Resources
If you or anyone you know is struggling please reach out:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1(800) 273-8255 (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
  • Mental Health Association in Michigan: (248) 647-1711
  • Summit Point – 24 Hour Crisis: 1(800) 632-5449
  • Summit Point Youth Mobile Crisis Team: (269) 441-5945
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 74174
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1(800)656-4773
  • National Domestic Abuse Hotline1(800)799-7233
About Erin Lathrop 47 Articles
Erin is a senior from Saline, Mich.. She is on the Track, Cross Country, and Swim and Dive team. Erin is at Albion College studying to become a nurse. She is, also, the movie Trolls and Trolls 2: World Tours' number one fan.

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