Make Valentine’s Day happy for all

Take action against sexual abuse and support those who have experienced it.

Melanie Williams

Valentine’s Day is here, which means that many of us are thinking about what to get that special someone and where to go for the perfect romantic dinner. Some of us are also thinking about various, and perhaps more scandalous, after-dinner activities.

Though for most of us the Valentine’s experience is enjoyable, even blissful, there are many women that don’t wake up on Feb. 15 remembering a night of candles, chocolates and consensual orgasms, but instead something much worse. At this time of year, as we’re buying our Hallmark cards and making fancy dining reservations, it’s also important to take a minute to keep these women in our thoughts and take action against sexual abuse and assault.

Victims of rape and sexual violence are all too numerous and the effects of rape culture have penetrated our society with entirely too much force. This isn’t new information.

Most of us know that sexual assault is a problem, and yet we choose to do nothing about it. We choose to ignore the problem and even continue to perpetuate the misogyny that keeps women in a state of subordination and victimization.

There are many different things we can do this month to help make change. The first thing we can do is to simply take care of ourselves and the people in our lives. We can remember that “no” means “no” and that buying somebody roses does not entitle us to whatever kind of pleasure we desire. We can all watch out for each other.

We can also take action to show our support for the victims of patriarchy and sexual assault. Every February a variety of organizations put on productions of “The Vagina Monologues” to raise money for rape prevention and domestic abuse shelters. You and your honey can buy tickets to a show or donate whatever you would have spent on a bottle of champagne to one of those organizations. We should do whatever we can to help everyone have a happy Valentine’s Day.