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When it recently came out that women had been sexually assaulted while serving their country in the United States Military, there was immediate media coverage of the case.

It shocked me.

I could not believe something so heinous could happen to a female soldier in an already male-dominated situation while they risked their lives to keep order in my country.

I viewed the military as a place where an act such as sexual assault could not occur, especially soldier to soldier.

But when I thought about it further, sexual assault in the military is not surprising to me at all.

I understand the military is held to higher standards and in our country, we expect great things from not only our soldiers, but the military as a whole.

But as a country, how can we expect the military to act any differently in terms of sexual assault, when it runs rampant among civilians?

Whether sexual assault is civilian to civilian or soldier to soldier, the acts are equally heinous and we cannot expect sexual assault in the military to cease until the pandemic of sexual assault among society in general is cured.

Today, sexual assault brings about mixed feelings. A highly publicized example of this is the outrage towards tennis player Serena Williams for her comments on the rape trial against two high school boys in Steubenville, Ohio.

In short, one night at a party, a girl became heavily inebriated until she lost consciousness. While she was incoherent, two boys sexually assaulted her and took pictures while doing it.

Williams found herself in hot water after an interview with a Rolling Stone reporter when she voiced her opinion on the case.

“...I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people.

“She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky.

“Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

There was outcry from the general public with people calling her comments insensitive and saying she was blaming the victim.

But it goes to show that some people view sexual assault differently depending on the factors involved, especially alcohol.

Some may say a girl is “asking for it” or that she was drunk and therefore it is her fault. Others say no one should ever blame the victim.

Basically, there are people in the nation who do not necessarily take sexual assault as seriously as others.

The military sexual assault issue has been plastered in our news, but the everyday sexual assaults among civilians can often be overlooked.

Everyone needs to be on the same page in terms of fixing the problem.

On college campuses, especially Penn State, sexual assault awareness is extremely high, but when I came to my hometown this summer, I realized how much it is not discussed.

Everyone, no matter the age or background, needs to see sexual assault among civilians, not just in the military, as a major problem that needs to be addressed.

At that point, maybe we can expect sexual assault to cease among our soldiers.

Lily Beatty is a sophomore majoring in supply chain and information systems and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. Her email is emb5542@psu.edu.