opinion   |   oped

EDITORIAL: Little 500 brings attention to an all-year issue



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It’s the time of year Hoosiers get wildly excited for: Little 500. People come from all over to cheer and watch bikes zoom by in Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Besides the increase of people on campus, there is also an increase in crimes and arrests made — most importantly, sexual assaults.

The rampant sexual misconduct that occurs during Little 500 is inexcusable, and we need to do more to prevent and be knowledgeable of it.

While drinking is typically the big-ticket citation during Little 500 weekend — 102 drinking tickets were issued last year — sexual assault causes much more harm to the victims.

Last year, one woman was sexually assaulted at Kilroy’s Sports. In 2017, a rape was reported at 16th and Dunn Street. There were three reported rapes in 2016 while banners donning the words “Got Consent?” waved around campus, having little effect.

IU defines sexual violence as "physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapable of giving consent due to use of drugs or alcohol or due to an intellectual disability or other disability." This includes sexual coercion, battery, assault and rape.

Sexual assault, unfortunately, is something that occurs at all times in our campus and throughout Bloomington. There’s just a different air toward it during this time of year.

Typically, crime at IU is briefly mentioned then dismissed. During Little 500, however, extra reinforcement, such as the Indiana State Excise Police, is eagerly brought in to address issues that are prevalent year round.

This extra reinforcement might not be needed if we were more conscious of those around us and more aware of ways to combat crime, including sexual assault.

There are some options being proposed, if not already available, that can help combat sexual violence on campus, but they’re not the strongest of reinforcement.

Although it’s not required, IU strongly encourages victims of sexual violence to file a report, whether it be to the university itself or to the police. And for those that are unsure of what to do, the Confidential Victim Advocates organization can help victims connect to the right resources and tackle concerns regarding grades.

Another organization that has made recent progress with new recommendations regarding sexual misconduct on campus is the Sexual Misconduct Student Working Group. They’ve suggested making “It’s On Us” training mandatory, and having IU explicitly state the difference between intoxicated and incapacitated as well as what is considered non-consensual contraceptive tampering.

While these are good suggestions, that is all they are as of now: suggestions. Suggestions that aren’t in place and enforced can’t help the hypothetical victims that are to crop up during the upcoming weekend.

Little 500 is notorious for drinking and partying. Watch out for your friends and make sure they don’t go over their limits.

Don’t leave your friends alone if they are in an incapacitated state. Make sure they get to their final destination safely and are under the supervision of someone trustworthy.

Little 500 is a fun-filled weekend, but the weekend shouldn’t be remembered by the number of crimes reported or arrests made. So have fun, but be mindful of those around you.

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