Breaking the standard

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.