Trigger Warning: This blog post touches on sexual assault and associated issues.
This semester, I am taking a Violence Against Women course, and after watching the documentary "The Hunting Ground," I feel like I need to speak out against the egregious campus sexual assault issue.
People have this misconception about sexual assault that the perpetrators are strangers who jump out of bushes and grab their victims, never to be seen again. While this does happen, the more common perpetrator is a friend, acquaintance, or someone talking to you at a party. They use alcohol as a weapon and they prey on people they believe to be weak or separated from people, someone who wouldn't be missed for some amount of time. One in six women will be raped in their lifetime. One in thirty-three men will be raped in their lifetime.
As if the act itself is not horrifying and traumatizing enough, if a young woman or man finds the courage to tell someone about their assault, a majority of college campuses A) say they're lying, B) turn them away, C) blame the victim, or D) tell them not to report the rape. As I was sitting there watching the movie, I felt myself getting sick. How can a trusted adult figure of power treat a student like this? How can they accuse them of lying without hearing the facts? How can they just turn them away?
I am not by any means stereotyping right now, but a large number of sexual assaults are completed by fraternity brothers and athletes. This is not saying that all frats and athletes are rapists. This is saying that a significant portion of predators are fraternities and athletes. And on a college campuses, they are the most dangerous predators. Why? Because they are protected by the universities, especially at large, college town campuses. Universities gain more from fraternities, so there is incentive for them to protect them. And athletes, with sports also being a large form of income for large universities--what kind of university president would pull the QB off the team in the middle of a winning-streak? Do you see the problem?
Sexual assault cases are being thrown out to protect the school and its reputation. That's the school's job--to protect the school. Not the students. Let me rephrase that...NOT the students? I cannot comprehend this. School's are wrong. A school's job is to protect and serve its students, not just a small portion of students. By protecting their students, they are protecting their university. The school cannot control the actions of its students, but the one thing it can control is how it reacts to transgressions against its students. If the university can say that they take care of their students when something bad happens, then in my opinion, that's a quality university. Falsifying crime reports on campus does not make it safer. If a school cannot take care of its students, then they will lose more money rather than if they just try to protect themselves.
Students, change is in the air. Now is our time to make a difference. Get involved in the sexual assault revolution and help to change your university. Make them hear you. And don't be a bystander! If you see something not right happening, don't be afraid to help. But first, time to learn. Here are some resources to help you make a difference:
1. First, and most important, know your Title IX rights!
5. Also, if you have the time, I highly suggest watching "The Hunting Ground." It's hard to watch at parts, but it ends on the hopeful note of change.
Next week, we will have a more cheerful topic. But when I get something stuck in my spider web of a mind, I have to talk it out. This topic has been weighing heavy on my heart, and I hope I've done a small part in affecting change for this important issue! Now it's your turn. So what will you do?