Target generated a media firestorm as it made it’s stance on inclusivity public. By allowing transgender individuals to use whichever bathroom or dressing room in which they personally identify, many customers are angry and fear this may be putting women in danger of being sexually assaulted by male predators.

This is a legitimate concern. There will undoubtedly be instances where males are caught sexually assaulting women or otherwise acting inappropriately. This may happen, so I can understand where people are coming from on this issue.

What I can’t understand is why we are not talking or asking questions about the sexual assault issues that are already happening in this country. Why is Target (and what could happen) the focus of media attention and public outrage, but prevalent sexual assaults occurring on campuses across the country are barely generating any news at all? According to an article written by Kelly Wallace of CNN, nearly 1 in 4 female college students said “they experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact” during their time at school. Knowing this, would you feel comfortable sending your daughters, granddaughters or sisters off to get an education? Or that 1 in 5 women “will be raped at some point in their lives”, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. This is not about what could happen at Target-this is about what is already happening all around us.

These are HUGE problems we are currently facing, ones that are difficult to talk about. But they’re not getting any better by not having conversations about what can be done about them. Boycotting Target will not identify the root of the issue. Teaching our boys and young men to respect women IS the issue, and this begins at home. As a society, it is our duty to educate and to set an example for our young people to follow. If they are not educated at home, they will be educated elsewhere, and we know what those results lead to.

Why is this happening in the first place? As a society, where did we go wrong in teaching our kids to respect women? How can we reverse the trend of sexual assault in this country? At what age do we start having these conversations? Are there enough resources available to victims of sexual assault? These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves if we want to begin to address the issue of sexual assault.

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