Last week, Matt Patricia, head football coach of the Detroit Lions, was put in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
News came out that he had been indicted on sexual assault allegations in 1996. He was never charged with any crime or tried in court, but the accusations were there.
This begs the question, why has this only come out now? This is a 22-year-old news story, why is it just now that we are getting wind of this?
While we may never know why the story came out 22 years late, what strikes me about this was my reaction to it.
My initial thought was something along the lines of, “Well, it’s just another sexual assault story.” I took a step back and wondered why my initial reaction wasn’t disgust.
While Patricia was never charged, which means he may have never committed assault, sexual assault is not something to be taken lightly.
Yet sometimes I feel like we find ourselves thinking, “Oh it’s just another sexual assault.”
I know that sexual assault claims are more common today than ever before. Whether it be because of more media coverage or more people having the courage to step up and talk about what happened to them, doesn’t mean they can be discounted.
I’m not trying to point any fingers, but we cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to sexual crimes and merely consider them another thing that happens.
The Voices Against Violence Project released an article in 2012 about culture of sexual assault and violence.
“The prevalence and normalization of sexual violence in our daily lives has very serious consequences,” according to the article. “Namely, it furthers the perpetuation of a culture of violence and rape in which the sexual objectification and dominance of women is just the norm.”
This was six years ago, around the time of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. This was long before Bill Cosby’s trial and sentence, before the Baylor University football rape cover-ups and before the #MeToo movement.
It is time that we stand up against sexual assault. As a man, I will fight against this my whole life. The last thing I want is my future daughter to have something happen to her because I failed to do something.
We, as BYU-Idaho students and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cannot stand by and allow sexual assault to continue on the path it is currently on.
We must stand for our sisters, our wives or future wives, our children, even the boys and men in our lives and cannot allow for them to live in a world where sexual assault is considered “just another thing that happens.”
Rise up, and defend the honor of those women and men that we love. They deserve it.