Here's How We Can Do Better For Victims Of Sexual Assault

Here's How We Can Do Better For Victims Of Sexual Assault

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

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As college students, it can be easy to feel like we don't have a say in policies and procedures on our own campus. When we feel like something was handled in an incorrect way, we are at a loss. We don't know what to do. Last week I wrote an article titled "We've Got To Do Better For Our Sexual Assault Victims". This week, after listening to students on my campus, I wanted to write about how we could do better.

1. Support Organizations Who Support Victims

I get it, we are college students, we don't always have money to pour into organizations. Supporting organizations does not always mean giving them money.

It means volunteering your time, going to their events, and sharing their events on Facebook even when you can't go. There is a lot of different ways to support an organization; it does not always have to be money. It is about getting the word out about an organization you believe in.

2. Show Up

When you show up, you put words to your actions. If you believe something is wrong, show up to campus and community events that tackle sexual assault. It is a way to learn more information and when you show up to these events, it is like saying, that it is an issue and you desire change.

When events surrounding topics do not get a good turn out, it says that not enough people believe in the event or that there is an issue. So, why would anyone want to put on event that others don't believe in? So, show up when you can.

3. Make Your Voice Heard

Email. Email. Email. Write to people with the authority to change things. As students, we can only do so much. We are not yet in positions of authority to change the way things are handled.

We get to be the voice that sparks change, but only if we all speak out. Letting administration know your concerns is a great first step.

Things will not change overnight. Look into the Sexual Misconduct policy, draft an email to the Title IX coordinator at your school, and express the concerns you have and ask questions. This also includes emailing and writing your elected officials and letting them know your concerns.

4. Call Out Problematic Behavior

People don't just wake up one day and think, "I'm gonna assault someone." It is a slow process, but it is not invisible. When you get that gut feeling in your stomach that something is not right, you need to listen to it. You need to speak up. He/she may be your friend, but that doesn't mean that they get a free pass to ruin someone's life.

5. Be A Friend

Sometimes the most effective thing anyone can do for someone is being a friend; saying "I love you" and "I believe you" does so much for someone who has been victimized. It reassures them that if they report that there are people who will believe them; that they are not in this alone. It is so easy to feel isolated and not taken seriously. When you don't support your friend, you send a message. What that person thinks is, "My own friends won't believe me. Why would anyone else?"

6. Be An Advocate

Advocating for victims does not always mean that there is a personal connection; there can be, but there does not always have to be one. You can be advocating simply because you do not like what is happening. Being an advocate encompasses all of the above. It means being a friend, supporting organizations, speaking out, showing up, and calling out problematic behavior. It is all of those things and more.

At the end of the day, sexual assault on college campuses is not going to get fixed because some girl decided she was going to write an article about it; it won't even fix sexual assaults on my campus. It takes everyone coming together and everyone showing initiative for things to change.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out http://www.redbubble.com for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.


Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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It's My First Time Being A Busy Bee

I knew I wasn't going to procrastinate, but I didn't take into account how busy I was going to be this summer.

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I'm a neurotic person. I always have been. Even when there was no need to worry or freak out, I would always somehow believe that I was busy, but that belief has been thrown out the window.

In a recent article, I explained that I would be motivated by having a lot on my plate. While this is true, I think I underestimated the amount of busy I was talking about.

I recently started a new job and I'm very happy with the opportunity I've been given, but the most I've ever worked in the past is 4 days a week. I currently work five days a week, and I have class five days a week. So trying to squeeze such a long amount of time every day is a bit of a handful.

I'm taking one transient course at FSW and my only hope is that I don't crack under pressure, as I tend to do whenever I'm faced with any inconvenience.

On top of all this, I'm also expected to read three or four chapters total nearly every day. That's a lot of reading that takes me a very long time. I'm not saying I don't like it, I'm just saying I'm not used to it. Plus, I end up taking nearly an hour to finish one chapter, let alone four.

I'm going to try my best, no matter how big the bags under my eyes get, and no matter how constantly ready I am to sleep at any given moment. This summer's not just meant to advance me to get to graduation sooner; it's meant to allow me to practice time management by jumping in head-first. It's not the easiest way, but I'm trying to learn things without fear.

Despite this summer starting out with a lot of work and little time, I think I'm more motivated that nervous. I am constantly afraid of multiple things happening at once around me, but I think this is a turning point as well as a wake-up call that I needed before finishing out my degree. It's going to take a lot of sleepless nights and caffeine, but I think I'll be alright.

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