Ramapo Stands Against Sexual Assault
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Student Life

Ramapo Stands Against Sexual Assault

Say "no more" to victim blaming, excuses, and silence.

Ramapo Stands Against Sexual Assault
The Badger Herald

Following multiple incidents of sexual assault on campus in recent years, Ramapo Stands is a new campaign developed by Ramapo College students in combatting campus sexual assault.

The campaign officially kicked off on Tuesday, February 21st with a No More tabling event. The message is, "No more excuses, no more violence, no more silence." There is no such thing as neutrality on the issue of sexual assault. Silence enables violence and the culture in which it thrives. Not only do the majority of assaults go unreported, but 80% of college campus incidents end up not reported to authorities, according to the Department of Justice.

It is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Ramapo students will not accept a culture of sexual assault and violence within this campus community or anywhere else. However, how many of us have the courage to detect and intervene with assault attempts? Or to stand up against rape culture? It is much more difficult, yet much more necessary, to openly oppose our friends or even strangers when we hear jokes or statements that encourage sexual violence.

At the tabling event, students held up messages on a whiteboard: No more victim blaming, no more "why didn't you tell anyone?", no more "she just needs to get over it", no more "it never happens to men", and one of the most common, no more "she was asking for it"

Ramapo Stands plan to have several upcoming events throughout the rest of the spring semester. Another tabling event on March 7th, 12-2 pm in the Student Center, an RAD self-defense class on March 27th 7-9:30 in the auxiliary gym, a movie screening on April 5th at 7:30 pm in H-wing, and a coffeehouse open mic on April 10th from 8-11 pm in Laurel Hall's screening room.

According to a 2015 study, 23% of college women are victims of nonconsensual sexual contact. A small percentage of those incidents are actually reported and result in prosecution. Statistics vary depending on campus, but one way to effectively fight campus assault is to stand up against the culture that enables it.

There is no excuse for this crime to happen. There is no justification for a guilty perpetrator to be freed from charges. It is intolerable, no exceptions. Statistics may be skewed by the fact that more victims would feel unwilling to report this traumatizing experience, even in anonymous surveys. Barriers to reporting an incident include but are not limited to feelings of embarrassment, emotional trauma, and feelings that nothing would be done even if it is reported.

The last factor is another serious problem. Out of every 1,000 cases of sexual violence, 310 are reported, 13 go to court, and 7 end up in convictions. Regardless, victims should be provided with the support and knowledge needed to pursue charges and conviction. Not doing so would result in a 100% chance of no prosecution. To be clear, it is still not the victim's fault if they do not report the crime. They need the support necessary to do so.

If your campus either has a history of sexual assault and violence, or if this is simply an issue that you would like to address, consider starting a similar group or campaign. So many colleges already have orientation programs aimed at reducing the number of incidents and providing a safe campus for students.

Another major portion of this is to not be a bystander. If you see or hear something that signals a likely assault, get to a safe location and report it to campus security as soon as possible. Additionally, jokes about sexual assault are not just locker room talk. They are often a predecessor of real incidents and real consequences.

Finally, if you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault and violence, consider reaching out to the following hotlines whenever you need support and counseling. Your campus should also have available counseling resources.

Safe Hotline - 877-995-5247
National Sexual Assault Hotline - 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Planned Parenthood - 1-800-230-7526
Women's Law - To find crisis centers, hospitals, shelter
Additional and state-wide hotlines

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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