Ohio State Must Do More To Take Sexual Assault Seriously On Its Campus

Ohio State Must Do More To Take Sexual Assault Seriously On Its Campus

With the investigation on OSU Doctor Richard Strauss finally concluded, it is evidently clear that OSU has failed to seriously combat sexual assaults on its students.

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On May 17th, OSU released the full report on the investigation of Richard Strauss, a team doctor that sexually abused 177 students from 1979-1999. Although these events occurred 30 years ago, the conclusion and results of this report highlight the crucial importance of this issue and how more seriously OSU needs to take it.

The sad fact is that sexual assault is a far too prevalent fact on college campuses. Thanks to the hard work done by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (and a big thanks to my colleague Savannah Deuer for providing this information), we can investigate just how many people become victims within the college atmosphere. Overall, nearly two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment with 27% of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact. This is an overwhelming number of students, and these statistics alone should make every college campus extremely conscientious of the problem. Perhaps even more concerning, however, is that 20% - 25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college. These statistics are even more concerning when occurring during a time when parts of the nation are working hard to essentially ban abortion access to women: often without exceptions for rape. And, without getting into the sociological discussion as to why the world is the way it is, it's important to note that more than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, while a 2002 study revealed that 63.3% of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes.

Given the prevalence of this issue, OSU has a history of inadequate action. One of the more shocking findings in the Strauss report is that many of the OSU university officials knew or had heard about the abuse and did nothing about it. This lack of action is horrifying, but OSU has admitted to its wrongdoing and has accepted full responsibility for their inaction. While I commend OSU for holding themselves accountable, this inadequacy has not only been a thing of the past: just last summer, they closed down a sexual assault investigation team after finding the team improperly handled their investigations. According to a review of the team, it was found that were not following university policies, told survivors to fake elements of their stories, and allowed survivors to be victim-blamed and told they were lying. Given that this was last summer, and that OSU often receives heavy criticism for how they handle mental health issues (something that sadly goes hand-in-hand with sexual assault), it's evidently clear that this issue is far from resolved. I will give credit to OSU for providing more resources and opportunities to give them a voice (as detailed in President Drake's message), but with the intense prevalence of sexual assaults, combined with their history of absolute inaction, it's not hard to argue that Ohio State has a long way to go.

However, there has been some positive responses to certain cases of sexual harassment and assault, and improvement is vital to this important issue. One of the creators at Odyssey, who has asked to remain nameless, was a victim this past two semesters of borderline sexual harassment by her ex-boyfriend. Since the victim and the ex lived on the same floor of a residence hall, the issue continued over several months and impacted the victim daily. The harassments were so bad that the victim had to report the ex-boyfriend to her RA, senior staff of the residence hall, and the police. The victim had to file a criminal report against the individual, and a misdemeanor was charged for his actions of violence, threatening behavior, emotional manipulation, stalking, and borderline sexual harassment (through his words and text messages to the victim describing rape and other horrible acts). The victim had multiple meetings with RAs, senior staff, counselors, and the OSU Title IX office to try and resolve this issue. A no-contact order was established between the victim and the ex-boyfriend, and Title IX was involved to do a possible criminal investigation of the individual. Victim, however, denied this option in order to focus on moving on. The process of filing a criminal report, speaking to Title IX, and trying to recover from such an event was catastrophic at times and can impact a person's day-to-day activities. But, the actions of OSU had a large and important impact on the victim, who was able to obtain counseling and begin to move on from the event. The OSU Title IX office, as well as the OSU Police Department's actions, allowed the victim some level of closure and safety during a very difficult time. Ohio State does offer different resources for those who have suffered any type of abuse, whether it be sexual assault or otherwise.


If you or someone you know has struggled with sexual assault or any crime, contact the OSU Title IX office or the OSU Counseling or Consultation service. If you or someone you know was a victim of Strauss, athleteabuse.com is offering resources to victims and working to hold Ohio State responsible for the results of the investigation. Ohio State is also offering free professionally certified counseling, with more details available in President Drake's message.

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"I Believe You" By Fletcher Is A Song Everyone Needs To Hear

Are you losing your mind thinking "What would it take?" to make somebody listen to you?
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It's still April which means it's still Sexual Assault Awareness Month! I was talking with my friends last week and one of them mentioned the song "I Believe You" by Fletcher. I had never heard it so I decided to listen to it later while doing homework- and my life was changed. I mean changed. This song is IMPORTANT and everyone needs to listen to it. Below are the lyrics courtesy of AZ Lyrics. I highly, HIGHLY recommend listening to the song while reading the lyrics.

It's the sick-to-your-stomach feeling with a smile on your face.

Too often victims are forced to keep a smile on their face out of fear. They feel like they can't speak up or act like anything is different because of retaliation.

It's the memory you ignore but you can't erase.

The memories of assault or times of harassment are always in the back of their minds.

It's the text in the middle of the night you didn't ask for.

You didn't ask for it.

It could help your career but at what cost.

Trading promotions for sexual favors. Disgusting.

Are you holding back something that you're dying to say?

Are you?

Me too.

Girl, I believe you.

I believe you. I promise someone believes you.

Are you losing your mind thinking "What would it take?" to make somebody listen to you

Me too.

It's the room full of rumors and everybody's staring.

It feels like all eyes are on you. People have their own versions of every story but it's none of their business. Ignore them, it's easier said than done but I promise they don't matter.

Did they tell you "You were asking for it by what you were wearing."

Your outfit does not mean consent!!! A short skirt is not an invitation to be groped. A low cut top is not asking for inappropriate comments.

It's the stains from your makeup and tears on your pillow.

Your pillow knows your every thought and feeling. It's a constant reminder.

It's a piece of yourself that you let go.

Something was stolen from the victims. Something that no one had the right to take and they had to let it go.

Do you want to scream but just can't find the air?

Sometimes you feel you're going to suffocate.

Me too.

Girl, I believe you

Are you losing your mind thinking "What would it take?" to make somebody listen to you?

All they want is to be believed. This society is so messed up and blames the victim instead of listening to them. Just please listen to them.

Me too.

They say step up and sit down, shut up and back down.

So what's up yeah, what's up with that.

What the hell is up with that? Telling the victims to keep their mouths shut so they don't ruin another person's life? What about their life? Why don't people care about the victims' lives?

So we dress up, get felt up, get shot down, don't speak up.

Yeah, what's up, yeah, what's up with that.

I don't think it's too much to ask to not feel AFRAID to dress up and go out but apparently, it is. I would just get blamed for my outfit.

Are you holding back something that you've just been dying to say?

Say it. Say it loud.

Me too.

Girl, I believe you.

Do you know every battle that you've had to face is making you bulletproof.

You. Are. So. Strong.

Me too, me too

Girl, I believe you

Do you know every battle that you've had to face is making you bulletproof

Me too.

Girl, I believe you.

Me too. I believe you.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/art-awareness-campaign-concrete-622135/

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The Real Reasons Women Don't Report Sexual Assault

Content warning: Sexual assault.

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These days in the United States, it is hard to get online and not see a headline of a woman coming forward telling her story of how she was sexually assaulted. You read the article and scroll through the comments underneath. Whether it happened last night, or 20 years ago, you'll probably see questions like these: "what was she wearing?" "was she drunk" "was she walking alone late at night?" If the rape didn't happen the night before, you'll probably see this question as well: "Well what took her so long to report?" Followed by an "I don't believe her, just another whore looking for attention." or.."He probably didn't call her back, so now she's looking for revenge." We can't forget my favorite, though "Was she drunk and just woke up regretting it?" Those are just a few reasons women don't report.

We see headlines about Brock Turner violently raping an unconscious girl, and getting sentenced only SIX MONTHS in jail. He only served three months. Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by three women, was appointed as Supreme Court Justice. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, sexualizes his own daughter and says things like "grab her by the pussy." The leader of the free world speaks about women like that. Are you still questioning why we don't come forward?

If you find a woman willing to open up about her experience with sexual assault, her story will probably sound something like this. First comes the shock, what you just went through is unfathomable. You're not even completely sure if what you think just happened, happened. You blame yourself, you go through every second kicking yourself for not fighting back harder, not yelling, and maybe kicking yourself for not saying anything at all. Denial sets in shortly after. You tell yourself "no, that wasn't rape. That couldn't happen to me."

Eventually, the pain sets in and there are a lot of tears. It sucks, the dreams, the flashbacks, even certain sounds will take you back to that moment. Sometimes it causes panic attacks and severe anxiety. You dissociate, you don't want to socialize, you don't want to go out and have fun, because you're scared you'll break down. When the anger sets in, though, that's a different story. No man stands a chance, especially those who resemble him. You are repulsed by everything men do, and you think it will never go away. Honestly, you pity the next man you fall for, if that even happens because you don't know how you'll be intimate again, both emotionally and physically.

The last thing a sexual assault survivor wants is to see the person who did it again. So that plays a huge part in not reporting, along with the trauma that comes with getting a rape kit and being interrogated by the police, as if you've done something wrong. Once you've been completely violated, having a stranger poke and prod you to make sure you're not pregnant or don't have an STD feels like a violation all over again.

Don't ever ask a woman why she didn't report and do not ever ask why it took so long. You don't know what courage it took to accept it come forward in the first place.

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