Letter: We need classes on sexual assault and self-defense

I am a social work major who transferred from a community college. I studied in different countries before coming to the United States. First, I studied in Iraq, but due to the bad situation in Iraq, my family and I traveled to Jordan temporarily. I studied in Jordan for 9 years. We came to the United States in 2008, and I have been learning English and studying since I came here.

In the past, when I lived in the Middle East, I could not walk by myself at any time, day or night. Whenever I went shopping, walking, or just sitting in front of my apartment, there would be boys following me to harass me or assault me. I remember one day, when I was about 10, I was walking to my friend’s house, in the evening, and there were two boys following me. I walked faster and was afraid; then they ran and improperly touched me, then they ran away.

Since that day, I decided to never go out alone. Many girls were sexually assaulted, but no one did anything about it. The girls who were assaulted wouldn’t say anything because they would be afraid that their reputation wouldn’t be good; in the Middle East if a girl is sexually assaulted, then people will talk badly about her and forget the man who assaulted her. As a result, if a girl was sexually assaulted then she wouldn’t say anything; in this way, the girl lives in fear and with other emotional issues while the man has no issues.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient, male or female. Countries and communities should teach the citizens about the dangerous consequences of sexual assault. Many students don’t have time to join clubs or search where to go if a sexual assault occurred; steps of what to do before and after a sexual assault take place should be taught in classes. It is important to know what to do or where to go if someone is assaulted. As a result, “how to prevent sexual assault” classes and self-defense classes should be required just like any pre-major or graduate obligation.

When students graduate from SDSU, they should be prepared for anything that might happen to them; it is not just education they need to be successful in this life.

What if someone attacked a student? Would education by itself protect that student from the attack? Education is very important to achieve one’s dream, but self-defense is important to reach that dream.

Seven sexual assault reports were filed at San Diego State University just in 2014. SDSU should be a fear free zone where students, especially females, can walk at any time of the day or night without being afraid that someone will come and physically attack and assault them. Ladies should walk with their friends if they feel like walking with them, not because they have to. Females should walk without carrying pepper spray or holding their phones with 911 on speed dial.

There is a big difference between the Middle East and the U.S.

In the Middle East, few people report sexual assault cases because it is a male dominant society, and they see the female as guilty; but in the USA counselors talk to the victim and tell them the importance of reporting and letting everyone know so they can be careful. Even though I can walk at SDSU by myself, I still carry pepper spray, and I prefer to walk with a friend at night. There is still fear that someone will come and attack me.

People need to understand that sexual assault is an issue that the whole community should be aware of. We need to educate the community, not just one person. I think all students at SDSU are aware of this problem, but the question is what the next step is.

I think required classes about sexual assault and other kinds of harassment are a way to bring more awareness and education to the students. Educating our students can educate a small community that includes students, friends, and family.  From this small community, a larger community could be educated about this topic.

Who wants to prevent sexual assault? I do.

Lina Hozi is a senior at San Diego State University.