Sexual assault. I’ve been avoiding this topic for awhile now, and I think it’s time I stop doing that; I think it’s time we all stop doing that.

Over the past few months many, many women and men have come forward to share their stories of sexual assault. Harvey Weinstein was seemingly the “big break” for many who had kept their stories to themselves. With his take down, victims felt safe, like they could share their stories and know that something would actually be done and that they would be believed.

For years in Hollywood, people would speak out and no one would listen. I strictly remember Elijah Wood speaking out about the sexual abuse many young boys face in the industry; Corey Feldman spoke out for years, but no one listened. But then something happened recently, I’m not sure exactly what it was, but people started to finally listen.

Every week it seems like another person falls. This week, it was Matt Lauer.

I would say it’s shocking, but it’s not. As a woman, I know what many women face every day. Sexual assaults and sexual harassment have been made the norm in our society. We live in a society where many people are more likely to believe the accused than the accuser.

The most common thing I’ve heard lately is, “she’s probably lying to get famous.”

No one wants to be famous for being sexually assaulted. It’s estimated that only 2 percent of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false. So it’s more likely that that sweet guy you thought you knew is an abuser, than it is that the women accusing him is a liar.

Even when our society does believe the victim, they find excuses as to why it was her fault. I stand shocked when I hear a person say, “but look what she is wearing,” or “she shouldn’t have been walking alone.” That’s ridiculous. I don’t care if a person is standing in the middle of downtown naked and there isn’t another person in sight; nothing gives any one the right to sexually assault anyone else. You are not allowed to touch someone else’s body unless you ask and they verbally say yes. It’s called consent, and it is really simple.

Instead of teaching consent, though, we’ve spent years teaching women how to not get raped or assaulted.

Many of us have been told our entire lives not to go places alone because we might get assaulted. Growing up, my family didn’t like that I would go to concerts because, “I might get raped.” Even today, at 25 years old, I am constantly told not to walk alone at night because someone might assault me.

Because this has always been a thing I’ve heard, it’s constantly in the back of my mind. I never take long walks without my German Shepard. I always carry a knife on me. When I get into my car, the first thing I do is lock it. My guard is constantly up; I am always prepared to be attacked, and that’s a shame.

It’s a shame that society has spent so much time teaching myself and other women how to avoid getting raped while doing practically nothing to punish abusers and teach people to not assault others.

This isn’t a fun conversation. It makes people uncomfortable, but that’s what we need to do. We need to talk about this and we need to take people seriously. We need to punish rapist and stop letting them off easy, and we need to start standing up and telling people, “No, that’s not right; you can’t do that” when we see sexual harassment or abuse going on.