In the last several years, there has been a strong push from the left to ban certain types guns and even talk of eliminating the Second Amendment altogether. They ignore the “shall not be infringed,” and claim that civilians do not need to protect themselves with firearms. One third of Democrats “strongly favor” a ban on all semi-automatic weapons, according to a recent YouGov survey. With this in mind, I want to tell you a personal experience.

In my sophomore year of high school, I was raped by a classmate. It was devastating to me psychologically, and I did not get better for years. I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I was embarrassed, scared, and empty. This event led me into a state of deep depression. Eventually, I told my school counselors about a year after it happened. I was still in classes with this person, and I saw them all the time. I never wanted to go to school, because I always ended up close to this person in some way as far as proximity went. When I told the counselors and realized that they had no intention of protecting me, I was even more devastated and felt done with my life. I contemplated suicide for a while. I never got justice. Because of this, I still resent my school counselors for their lack of action to this day. I deserved justice. They did not help me get it.

Since recovering from various mental illnesses, I have come to the realization that it was never my fault. When I finally recovered, I decided that I would do whatever I could to ensure that I would never be victimized in that way ever again. I have looked forward to getting a concealed carry permit since I learned that former victims of sexual violence are at a much higher risk of becoming a victim to it again. According to RAINN, women who have already been sexually victimized are 35 percent more likely to be re-victimized.

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That is incredibly alarming to me as a survivor of rape, especially being in college. The left promotes the idea that there is a ‘rape culture’ on college campuses, but many are against the idea that young women in college should ever be allowed to have a handgun to protect themselves. Instead, colleges offer training programs to students in which “toxic masculinity” is the cause of sexual assault. They say the only solution to stopping it is emasculating young men. While I do not have the answer to why or if rape is more prevalent on college campuses then in other institutions, I do know that masculinity is not the problem, and I do know that men are less likely to attack a woman who is carrying a firearm. Case in point, I should be able to ensure that this never happens to me again. Only 10 states have legalized campus carry, but the movement is making strides. I am of the opinion that at age 18, you should have the right to own a handgun and concealed carry, just like you are given the right to vote and join the armed forces at that age.

The Second Amendment is truly an equalizer. As women, we may not always have the physical strength to fight off a man who is attacking. With a gun, we surely can subdue an attacker and make sure they never get to try that again on another woman. Although my story started as a sad one, I know that I am meant to use what happened to me to protect others and fight for the rights of myself and others to be able to protect themselves. Being able to protect yourself is the ultimate step to empowerment.

Ellie H