Sexual assault is one of the most vile crimes that can be perpetrated against another human being. So, why do we live in a society that trivializes it and brushes off responsibility without a second thought? America is moving through the twenty-first century, but it seems to be stuck in the twentieth. Over the past fifty years, American women have lessened the wage gap and created opportunities in previously male dominated careers. Looking at those statistics, we feel like we’ve accomplished a lot. But have we?

University Of Connecticut President Susan Herbst Photo Courtesy of

University Of Connecticut President Susan Herbst
Photo Courtesy of

The University of Connecticut has recently come under fire for improperly investigating sexual assault charges. Many women have come forward, confessing their discomfort with the atmosphere on UConn’s campus. In particular, there have been sexual assault charges brought against members of various sports teams, but staff and officials in the Athletics Department reportedly ignored the accusations and continued to let the accused athletes play with little to no punishment. One victim, Rosemary Richi, openly said “UConn’s response or lack of response under these circumstances raises the question of whether or not athletes receive special treatment.”

This is not an isolated incident, either. All over our country, athletes are getting away with rape, assault, and more. It would seem that we are giving these players, most of whom are men, the right to hurt and belittle anyone they please, simply because they are skilled with a ball. These universities and teams are broadcasting a message that athletes are considered more valuable to their school than their victims. Influenced by alumni and the considerable revenue stream from sports, universities downplay incidents and hide the gruesome truth about the character of some of their players. They minimize a lot of the damage by blaming the victim, if they even acknowledge that a crime was committed.

Instead of doubting the victim’s story or second guessing his or her wardrobe, we should be focused on punishing this blatant disrespect for a human being. The victim’s clothes or actions before the crime never excuses the crime, or the university’s behavior after the fact.  It’s as senseless as blaming a family who has been the victim of a home invasion or robbery. Instead of accusing them of flaunting their wealth to the theif by owning too many enticing valuables, the police would work to find the criminal responsible and see justice served. I don’t understand why we as a society place a higher value on material things and sports clubs than on the safety and well-being of our fellow Americans.