1 in 4 women will have sexual assault committed upon them in their lifetime.
On average, men who commit sexual assault do so 6 times before being caught.
1 in 24 men you know is someone who would, could, and does commit sexual assault.
Think about that for a minute. Figure out about how many men you know, and run down the list in your head. Which of your friends, your family, your partners, your peers shows a tendency to commit sexual assault?
There are lots of lists of warning signs. There are plenty of unpacked behavior patterns that explain in detail how to tell. But in the real world, we already know. Does he take no for an answer? Does he accept rejection and criticism like an adult? These are things we know about people we are even vaguely familiar with, even if oftenwe choose not to believe that we know.
1 in 24. It’s a frightening, overwhelming number. The only up side is that it’s a number we can change. By listening to our instincts, trusting our judgments, and being willing to speak up – for ourselves, and for each other – we can change that number.
When you see predatory behavior, like engaging in boundary-testing and prey selection, speak up – even and especially if someone you know is doing it. Inaction got us here. Only action will get us out.
Author’s note: Remember, not all predators are men. Not all targets are women. We have so, so little data to tell us about other demographics of assault that it’s even more challenging to wrap our minds around the problem. For now, just keep in mind: everyone could use a little bystander support. It doesn’t have to look like rape on TV to be real.