opinion

OPINION: Sexual assaults have been normalized on IU's campus



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Eigenmann Hall IDS file photo

On Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready to hop onto my first Zoom call of the day, I received an IU Bloomington Crime Notice. The notice reported another rape, one of several reported over the last month on IU’s campus. In my head, I couldn’t help thinking of all the ones that aren’t reported in an email. It said the two individuals involved met through a dating app, Grindr.

IU has been so busy implementing new restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic it has forgotten about old ones that should have been addressed years ago. A majority of these sexual assault reports come from on campus living — places where security systems are extremely insufficient.

“It would be easy for someone to force me to let them in,” freshman Kylie Bostock said. “The security protocols at dorms only require a student’s Crimson Card, which a predator could easily steal or force someone to use against their will.”

The lack of security around campus and the desperation students feel to make connections can lead situations in which students are putting themselves in danger. Dating apps are used to replace the normal social situations. Meeting someone through an app leads to many potential threats. Someone could lie about being a student, their age and worst of all could easily be a predator already.  

“It’s a lot harder to meet people since a lot of the social events where you could meet friends aren’t happening anymore,” Bostock said. “Going up to people on your walk to the library or class is definitely challenging and somewhat awkward for most.”

You would think with these back-to-back reports IU would get the message that something needs to change. But as of now, no new progress has been made.

“The most IU has done has been sending out the same cookie cutter email, and that's not enough,” Bostock said. “Students and survivors need to feel safe and supported on campus, and sending out a robotic email reporting a rape is not a sign of solidarity or remotely comforting.”

It is IU’s responsibility to keep its students safe. Students who funnel thousands of dollars into the university deserve the bare minimum back, yet do not receive it. There are steps being taken to control COVID-19 around campus such as mitigation testing and quarantined dorms. Why then isn’t anything being done for sexual assault?

A lot of these assaults happen in low-lit areas, and IU could find ways to illuminate campus more properly. Instead of just a Crimson Card being used, perhaps students should check in at the front desk. As for the posters on the bathroom stalls, those need to be moved and need to mention self-defense classes students can take for free. 

“The low effort emails as a response are simply not cutting it anymore,” Bostock said.

Maggie Mulligan (she/her) is a sophomore studying recreational therapy and theater. She is a member of the Redstepper Dance Team, Gamma Phi Beta sorority and the Panhellenic Association Diversity and Inclusion board.

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