COMMENTARY/Sexual assault on college campuses

Mar 29, 2022

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Sexual assault is one of the biggest issues in the college environment. I say this because I have experiences of my own.

When going to the opposite gender’s room with the mentality that you do not want to do anything, but them talking you into doing something because you start to feel bad, is rape.

Just because you “willingly” laid back, knowing that you did not want to, and expressing that before anything happened, is rape.

Some may say, “but you did it anyway.” It is because you felt you had no other choice. It is because you felt powerless. Many do not understand the importance of how to protect themselves.

Sexual assault causes damage to a female's mentality. It can cause depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and anxiety. For example, if you realize a female or even a friend is overly drinking, or not being themselves, ask if they’re okay.

People around can also step in and support the victims. They can help by noticing the signs and asking if everything is okay and/or if you want to discuss the issue. Supporting the victims will do more justice than not doing anything at all.

Sexual assault is a sexual act in which a person is coerced or forced to against their will. One in five college women experience unwanted sexual assault while in college, with freshman women being at the highest risk. One in five is an enormous number.

Women come to college to receive an education, yet so many experience this trauma. Studies show that sexual assault in the first year can cause mental health issues during the rest of their college years. Sexual assault occurs even more among the LGBTQ students than heterosexual students. Most sexual assault is not reported.

After the assault, it is common for the victims to be in shock, confusion or even blame themselves. After taking everything into consideration, you cannot stop sexual assault. It is impossible to completely stop it, but you can always help. You can always be there for the victim.

Sexual assault can cause you to put yourself in a hole that will be hard to come out of.  If you see someone who has always been responsible starting to engage in self-destructive behaviors such as drinking too much, making risky decisions like going out late at night by themselves or speeding when driving, it may be because they have experienced sexual assault. Help them. Let them know that the school offers counseling.

JaNasia Bracy is a freshman criminal justice major from Dalzell, South Carolina.

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