Sexual harassment on college campus in a rape-tolerant culture
By Emily Espinoza, Campus Life Editor
One in five women and one is 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC); and this statistic isn’t even totally accurate as more than 90 percent of sexual assaults on campus go unreported. These numbers are staggering and are not taken as seriously as they should be by faculty and students alike. As a college community, Schoolcraft members need to take actions toward informing and protecting every single student in attendance.
With more criminal cases being brought up involving sexual assaults on college campuses, such as the Brock Turner and Baylor University scandals, it’s no wonder the public is beginning to question the legitimacy behind colleges’ punishment of offenders. Everyone can agree there is nothing pretty about sexual harassment, but this is no reason to brush it under the rug, rather an even better reason to educate and protect our students.
One vital thing to remember when discussing any form of sexual violence is victims are not sexually assaulted because of the way they carry themselves; they are assaulted because an offender decided to commit a violent act against them. Although this truth holds relevance, it is important to note rapists are still out there and it is necessary to take precautions to protect one’s self.
If one is curious as to how they can make a difference in the community, a great place to start is by saying something. Too many victims, or soon-to-be victims, are too afraid (for various reasons) to speak up against a perpetrator and could really use a concerned charter to help them out. If instincts are saying something strange is going on, at the very least go inquire more about the situation. Who knows, one might potentially save someone from an act of violence committed against them.
Defending fellow students is crucial in the fight against sexual harassment, but when it comes down to it, no one can protect himself or herself from assault like themselves. It is also smart to concern one’s self with prevention rather than protection; no matter how annoying it can be.
Let’s be honest here, a lot of college students party and, to an extent, it’s simply part of the experience; but it is so important to remember how vulnerable people really are. Date rape drugs are becoming increasingly popular amongst offenders, so it is critical to watch drinks; if eyes can’t be kept on it at all times, finish it or ditch it. Although date rape drugs do lend a hand to perpetrators, they are not always necessary; about 90 percent of sexual assault cases on college campuses involve the consumption of alcohol according to The Center for Family Justice. Even though the law clearly states that one is unable to consent to sex if intoxicated, this unfortunately doesn’t always deter a potential offender. No one is telling college students not to party hard and enjoy, just do so responsibly.
Another way of protection from sexual assault is taking up a self-defense class; this can be a gratifying and informative way to learn more about the possibilities one has with protection.
Although the possibilities are endless when it comes to defense against sexual harassment, there really is no surefire solution to this growing problem. Victims of sexual assault do not have to be scared to come forward and tell what happened. They are not alone, feelings are valid, and victims have every right to the respectful treatment of their body. If one wishes to report an act of sexual violence or negative behavior of any sort on campus, please visit SC Aware via the Schoolcraft website to report any findings anonymously or not.