Grace Helmke’s Powerful Message About Sexual Assault


Clara Gomes-Ferres

I remember exactly how I felt when Grace spoke about how real sexual assault is today. She spoke about the way high school boys would judge high school girls about the shape of their bodies, as if girls had much control over that kind of thing. I remember how her usage of curse words fit into her piece perfectly and just at the right moments. I remember feeling as though I was not the only one that felt this way about locker room talk.

I was especially interested in what she had to say about how vulgar words are thrown out about people so easily:

“Well, we’ve all heard people talk crap about others behind their back. The famous case where the girl dumped the guy and all of a sudden the girl is a bitch or a slut or a prude or a thot or anything in between. One day a guy is professing his love to a girl and the next he’s calling her every name in the book.”

What I loved most about the way Grace spoke was the way she included in her speech things I didn’t know others took such close attention to, things that people were afraid to say aloud. Not only did Grace speak on behalf of the average self-conscious high-schooler, but she spoke in order to raise awareness about how common a scary situation like this comes up in our world. The statistics she brought up were truly eye-opening:

“Sexual assault is disgustingly common. 1 out of 8 adult women have been the victim of forcible rape, and nearly a third of sexual assault victims will develop rape-related PTSD sometime in their lives. An estimated 155,000 women were raped each year between 1973 and 1987.”

Lately, with all of these sexualt assualt allegations being made, such as the ones about, of which she mentions in her introduction, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, many of us are fed up. But why is it that these allegations are coming up out of the blue at once? When Grace mentions the Harvey Weinstein case that involved an actress about seven years ago, I found it quite disturbing to learn that, despite other sexual allegations made against him in the past, and that the police had reason to believe he was guilty for a while, that he was able to sexually assault this women not on one but on two occasions:

“The second time he raped her he waited in her building lobby until she came home. She’d been drinking because she was nervous. He convinced her to let him upstairs so he could have ‘calm discussion’ with her. It took seven years to finally speak up about it, undoubtedly afraid of being asked to remember the trauma when she so badly wanted to forget.”

I think that what we should all keep in mind about this issue is that nobody, regardless of gender, should be brought up in a way that enables them to believe that taking advantage of other people is at all right. People deserve to feel safe and secure in this world.

“Teach your children to love and care about other people–that is how we fix this.”