Light has been shed on the rising problems with social issues among young adults. Suicide, drug addiction, depression, and sexual assault are just a few that are in the media. These aren’t topics that are new, they are just becoming less taboo at the dinner table. Something that we can openly discuss. At least that’s the hope.
Unfortunately, rape and sexual abuse are still under-reported. This is something that is not specific to one gender. According to RAINN someone is sexually assaulted in America every 98 seconds. Let me break this down a little. There are 86,400 seconds in a twenty-four hour period. This means that every day 881 people (boys, girls, women, men) are sexually assaulted. That is a staggering number. And I say people because even though 54% of sexual assault victims are women between the ages of 18 and 34, at least 1 out of every 10 victims are male.
Suicide is on the rise. As of 2015, per AFSP, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for teenagers. It has been stated that on average there are 121 suicides per day. The average suicide rate has increased 3% in the last ten years. That may not seem like a large number, but when you think about that on a larger scale, it becomes enormous. Especially if you take into consideration the number of celebrities lost to suicide in the last two years alone.
And bullying has become more anonymous over the years. It has gone from face to face to over the internet, via texts or calls. Bullies are now faceless. If we look at statistics, 28% of middle-school students and higher have been bullied. Sadly, what is worse is that 70.6% of young adults have witnessed bullying in their schools. It’s been coined the bystander effect.
This is why it’s so important our voices come together to be heard.
More and more YA novels are coming out to bring attention to these topics. Novels like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak not only let teenagers know they aren’t alone, but offer insight. Though there has been some conflict recently over Thirteen Reasons Why since it was turned into a Netflix series. It’s been suggested it romanticizes suicide. Now, I can’t speak on the series because I have yet to watch it, but I can say the book does just the opposite. As do most YA novels addressing these social issues.
Authors who write these novels do so to initiate conversations, to bring necessary attention and to show support. It’s imperative that we keep speaking up. If we continue to come together, then we might just make a difference.
Lives can be saved and impacted teens can get the help they need if we let our voices be heard.
If you have a story to share, feel free to post it here. You can post anonymously or leave your name.
It can be freeing and cathartic just by talking about it. And it may help someone else too.
You are not alone.
You are not broken.
Someone will listen.
Statistics used were obtained from the following sites.