Sexual harassment and assault is one of the most talked about issues on college campuses today, next to the upcoming election. Women, every single day, are coming forward with horrible stories of getting hurt on campus and facing persecution from the schools that they are paying money to attend. The worst part of this is that there is an alarming number of women who are personally making decisions to not stay silent and come forward, but the schools are not helping.
After a sexual assault, a survivor should not have to worry about how university administration will behave towards them. But, as many college women are finding out, universities can not be trusted with decisions involving sexual violence. Why? Because these universities have a financial incentive to rule a certain way. Universities do not want their name connected with any type of sexual violence in the media, they know this can impart enrollment numbers and ultimately mean less money in their pocket. Universities can go months and even years before a report of a sexual assault gets turned into a hearing. And if that hearing does eventually happen the survivor can find themselves being in a position where they are asked questions that sound a lot like victim blaming.
It's a shame that the few voices that do come forward when reporting a sexual assault are either ignored or questioned by universities. Survivors find it hard to find their voice after an assault and when they finally do find that courage from somewhere deep down to report, they are again silenced by their universities because in many areas it is still considered a taboo topic and survivors encouraged to keep quiet.
Women are being shamed into thinking that it was their fault if they come forward. It is their fault because they wore the wrong thing or made poor choices leading up to the assault and the consequences of coming forward are damaging to the individual and the future. The problem with that thinking is what about the person in the scenario? Sexual assault or harassment is a two or more person activity, after all it takes two to tango. Why do women have the hard time coming forward when in fact they were the victims? Shouldn't men be treated the harshly the way women do, or wouldn't universities want to let prospective students and their families to know that they take sexual violence allegations very seriously and work close to local police department?
The individual(s) and the universities should be held responsible for sexual violence problems that occur on university campuses. Sexual violence tells that person that you are not human enough to to know what you want or what happened to you. It is disgraceful. Sexual violence of any kind can leave victims traumatized and scared for life. These types of damages are unseen to the eye but hit more than they seem. We treat assault victims with high priority because their scares can bee seen, we can truly imagine the type of pain an individual had to have gone through, yet not sexual violence victims. People need to see their wounds and understand that they do hurt, deeper than anyone can truly know. Universities need to know that this type of violence should not be allowed and that individual(s) who commit these acts should be dealt with the same way as other violent attacks.
If you, or any person has had to face sexual violence in any way do not be afraid to come forward. Universities do not want to know what goes happens on colleges campuses but they need to know how damaged they truly are. If you are afraid of going to your university, do not be afraid to reach out to your local PD or https://ohl.rainn.org/online/.