Sexual assault awareness: Both sides of the coin

A student holds their hand up as a gesture against sexual assault.

Salman Hossain Saif via wikipedia

A student holds their hand up as a gesture against sexual assault.

Owen Gannaway, Sports Editor

There have been many cases of sexual assault allegations against athletes such as Felipe Vazquez and Neymar, and the unfortunate reality is there has been a major increase in this number across the nation. When many hear of this violent crime, the usual allegation that comes from a woman and is directed at a man. While many times this accusation will prove to be legitimate, this is not always the case. 

Last week, uprising Manchester United star 20-year-old Mason Greenwood was apprehended by police after pictures accompanied by an audio recording were released by ex-girlfriend Harriet Robson. Both were damning pieces of evidence against Greenwood. 

From there, things only got worse for Greenwood. The allegations continued past sexual assault when reports of Greenwood threatening to kill surfaced. Although Greenwood was able to be released on bail, he still faces other concerns regarding his once bright future. 

Manchester United released a statement reiterating that Greenwood will not be playing for them until further notice. Companies such as Nike suspended their contracts with Greenwood, and Manchester United’s shirt sponsor TeamViewer reported they were closely “monitoring” the situation. FIFA, the legendary soccer video game, also removed him from the game, and the Manchester United club removed all Greenwood merchandise and allowed fans to switch out their Greenwood jerseys.

Dealing with sexual assault cases is a very difficult and delicate matter. There are many moving parts involved in the investigation of sexual assault cases. “There has to be sufficient evidence, as a person’s word is not enough,” says Arissa Khan, “I think that the biggest and saddest reason that people don’t report sexual assault is because of the fact that they are not taken seriously. Millions are affected by sexual assault cases each year, however due to factors like fear and embarrassment, many cases go unreported.

Allegations like these, whether legitimate or not, will likely ruin an athletes career by tarnishing their reputation irreversibly. “I believe that its important to take any sexual assault allegations seriously; however, its disappointing to see promising athletes under fire when the allegations have yet to be proven true,” said senior and long time Manchester United fan Jack Streepy. In the last few days, the audio evidence has been proven faulty after investigators revealed it was from a different day than the sexual assault allegations came from. 

This particular scenario regarding Mason Greenwood is still in the process of investigation. “At the end of the day I just hope justice is served,” said senior Aidan Judd (concerning the Greenwood case), “If Greenwood is guilty he should pay the consequences, and if he is innocent, then he shouldn’t have these allegations work against him and his future.” 

There is a fine line between when solving sexual assault cases. You must respect each and every allegation brought to attention. Many times these allegations are true and action must be taken. On the other hand, it’s important not to jump to conclusions before the case has been settled. It’s this fine line created and the inability to comprehend both sides of the coin that make these cases so difficult to handle.