They say every girl either knows someone who's been sexually assaulted and/or raped or has experienced it themselves. However, no one ever seems to know who the predator is. No one talks about which of their friends might have done something to someone, and no one seems to call their friends out on their actions.
It's gone too far and has gone on for too long. Now, it's on us.
We've heard the stories on other campuses about it. We've all heard of people, like Brock Turner, who don't receive the repercussions they deserve. We've heard "it'll ruin their future," "they're such a smart kid," and "think of what this could do to them."
But, when have we ever stopped to think about how sexual assault impacts the victim's future, or how smart and talented they are, or what this trauma does to them? Now, it's right in front of our eyes.
On July 2nd, there was an article from the New York Times which told the story of a boy from our own campus. At the age of sixteen, the boy recorded a video of himself engaging in sexual intercourse with a girl at a party and captioned it "when your first time having sex was rape". The article states that the girl was stumbling as she walked and woke up the next morning with torn clothes and bruises on her body. The judge said the boy should be granted leniency because he comes from a good family and was on track to attend a good college.
He did attend a good college in the end. It was ours. He went to classes alongside us. He lived with us in the dorms. He went about his life at school and no one around him knew of this incident at all. That's why, despite him withdrawing from the university, the fight is not over.
This is not out of the ordinary. Although not proven, many people argue that there are other assailants who currently learn and work alongside us that have committed similar violent and horrible acts.
It's clear that in many instances, the justice system is not responding to these cases in the way they should. It's not taken as seriously as it should be—which is why it's on us!
It's on us to be watching out for our friends in potentially dangerous situations. It's on us to call people out for their actions. It's on us to support victims. It's on us to treat sexual assault seriously. It's on us to remember the victim is never at fault. It's on us to be vigilant always. It's on us to remember it's never about what you're wearing or what you had to drink. It's on us to ask for consent. It's on us to know when someone is too inebriated to give consent. It's on us to recognize when people are in a dangerous situation. It's on us to make our campus a safer place.
Our campus is where we learn, work, and live. It's on us to make it a safe place where people can go about their lives and have fun without fear.
When the boy in question withdrew from Syracuse University, we won a battle. The war is still going. It's on us to put an end to sexual assault.