Why is sexual assault not an easy topic to discuss in our society, yet songwriters are able to depict sexual assaults in their songs?
I have been pondering many questions related to sexual assault and relationships lately. What defines what is and what is not okay in relationships? More importantly, is this definition mutual between those involved? Healthy relationships are what we strive for in our intimate relationships, yet what does a healthy relationship mean? Finally, is it okay for song lyrics to continue to depict sexual assault as something that is okay in our society, especially when our society is beginning to realize that sexual assault happens and is not acceptable?
If you were listening to WWBX 97.1 or WBZN 107.3 in the past few months, 10 to one you would have heard “Stand Up” by Ludacris. I, like many of you, think this song is fun. However, after hearing the song one day, I was appalled by the words Ludacris used in his lyrics. Twice in his song, he makes reference to sexual assault as something people think about doing to others. He writes, “I’m looking for a thick, young lady to pull,” and “the more drinks in your system, the harder to fight.” Both of these lyrics are used to talk about sexual assaults.
How influential are these lyrics in portraying that sexually assaulting someone is okay? Sexual assault is a topic a lot of people feel passionately about. They are willing to stand up and educate those who feel sexual assaults happen because she wanted “it” – although the majority of sexual assaults happen to women, men can and are sexually assaulted as well. There are going to be some people who will listen and come to a new understanding about sexual assault and how it is not acceptable. However, there are going to be others who are harder to convince. For those, it is songs like “Stand Up,” that may reaffirm their beliefs that sexual assault is okay and is something men/women think about doing.
I for one, enjoy Ludacris’ song, “Stand Up.” I was drawn into this song because of the beat. It was not until I had listened to the words of the song one day that I realized what it was saying. I don’t necessarily agree with the messages being presented, but I do still listen and enjoy the song. I also try to talk to people about the song when I hear it playing. By talking to my friends, residents or others about the messages being displayed, I am educating them about sexual assault, which will hopefully make them more aware of these issues. I face different situations when I have realizations like I did when listening to the words of this song. How do I go about taking a stand and making a difference while maintaining my life and doing the things I use to do? Because I feel passionately about educating others about sexual assault, it is a challenge I am willing to face.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I encourage all of you to take part in the activities happening around the community. In order to break the silence and express that sexual assault is not a joke, we need to talk about it. Talking about these experiences will make it easier to win the fight against sexual assault in the years to come.
Jen Golojuch is a graduate student in the student development in higher education.