Or perhaps let’s talk about rape because, well, they are different.
Since it is Sexual Assault Awareness month and colleges across the country are attempting to exude a Culture of Care, I want to weigh in on the topic. Rape is a particularly prevalent issue on various college campuses. By now, many of us have heard that 1 in 4 women on college campuses report being raped or sexually assaulted within their lifetime. It is unfortunate that this statistic doesn’t include men. However, it is still pretty alarming.
But what is also alarming is the horrifying treatment that many students endure the instance they report their assault to their universities and local police. Often times they are faced with a series of questions that sound like this: “What were you wearing?” “How much did you have to drink?” “Did you say no?” “How did you say no?” Something better known as victim-blaming.
Following such instances, universities might make the claim that they will investigate the case. But many cases often go unviewed. In fact, just two years ago the Department of Education released a list of more than 100 universities under investigation for violations of Title IX in handling sexual violence reports, including my beloved university.
With these issues persisting, it is time that these universities we trust in act on their student’s behalf. No longer will the “How to Prevent Rape” signs hanging in the bathroom stalls be of benefit to their students. We need more accountability, more authoritative action, more programs on consent, and early and sufficient education on sex ed. More than that, we need people in charge who will actually listen, place less shame on victims in order to keep admissions and money rolling in, and notoriety.
Truly these statistics and testimonies — heard and unheard — of students across the U.S. cry out for action in regards to sexual violence, as opposed to firing professors who speak out and encouraging survivors to consider dropping out. Where is the culture of care so many universities speak of?
But essentially, it is on us. *Ahem: assailants and, yes, bystanders*