Indiana University has made a point to educate its students about sexual assault.
Because of the efforts made by the Indiana Daily Student, Culture of Care and the Student Board of efforts, it is hard for the Opinion Editorial board to hear about the recent sexual assault case involving the app Whisper.
Four men from Monroe county were recently arrested on child molestation charges. Two of the men arrested, George W. R. Pearcy and Matthew J. Filipek, are students at IU.
Though all four men are innocent until proven guilty, the Editorial Board believes this is a good time to reflect on how this situation affects IU’s activism and the way the community views its fight against sexual assault.
IU joined the fight against sexual assault by taking on the nationwide “It’s On US” slogan, coined by former President Barack Obama in 2014. Since then, other organizations on campus have taken up the fight against sexual assault as well.
Culture of Care promotes sexual well-being and the idea of no longer being the bystander but caring for our classmates instead.
Last semester, the investigation desk at the IDS ran a three-part special on sexual assault at IU where columnists encouraged students to share their stories.
The investigation revealed how many students still didn’t realize how common and probable sexual assault is at IU.
While IU’s existing activism educates students about sexual assault, informs them of how to protect themselves against it and how to report it afterwards, we need to examine whether we’re doing a good enough job.
These organizations and IU as a community spends so much time informing informing students about how to protect themselves from sexual assault, yet it seems these organizations aren’t doing enough to dissaude the assaulters.
Situations like the Whisper case occur because not enough offenders are being held responsible, and instead of telling victims that they are the ones who need to prevent sexual assault, IU should turn its focus to the potential offenders.
To make matters worse, IU student James McGovern was arrested on Friday on charges of rape and criminal confinement.
Perhaps there needs to be a way for those who are unsure whether or not they are committing sexual assault to speak with someone and get a better understanding of the damage they are causing, while also being held responsible.
We cannot only punish the few who are caught because while this shows some are being caught, it also showcases the large amount of sexual offenders who are getting away with it because of intimidation and stigma placed on the victims.
Of course, the education about prevention and what it means to sexually assault someone will not always dissuade someone from committing a sexual crime.
Despite the fact that this specific crime has taken place off campus with a minor, it cannot be totally separate from IU.
Those accused are affiliated with IU and that is always going to look bad for the University.
If the University wants to prevent further potential blame, it needs to create stricter expectations of students and follow through when a crime is committed.
The dangerous atmosphere of sexual assault at IU will ultimately deter potential students from enrolling in the future.