By Alexandria Hilliard, Staff Writer
When was the last time you heard or read about sexual assault on colleges campuses? I bet it’s sometime in the last 48 hours. Over the past few months, the topic of on-campus sexual assault has left the U.S. in bedlam.
With sexual assault awareness campaigns backed by the Obama administration, it looked as if there was actually some progress being made in combating the issue. In all actuality there has been very little improvement.
According to a survey conducted by The Huffington Post, not even one-third of students found guilty of sexual assault on college campuses are actually expelled. Some aren’t even suspended. Most offenders are simply forced to attend short-lived courses on morality and then are then released back onto campus, going about their lives like nothing happened while their victims are forced to live with a constant reminder of their trauma.
Rape was a common subject among my high school friends; under many instances, people around me were assaulted. We’d all heard about the dangers of sexual abuse on college campuses, but I never thought that I would actually be affected by it.
My BU orientation session included a demonstration of how to prevent and handle sexual abuse situations. I left orientation feeling relieved because I was finally going to be at a school where both the administration and the students took sexual assault seriously.
I was wrong.
During the first three weeks of college, I heard about three different girls who were sexually assaulted. That warm feeling of security was suddenly stripped. How could you possibly still sexually assault someone even after being educated about it?
Questions like this have been circulating around the nation after numerous instances of on-campus sexual abuse made rounds in the news. Stories from people like Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia student who was raped in her own dorm room, have begun to lead the public to question whether or not the efforts to solve the sexual assault problem have been effective at all.
As a young woman living on campus and having to bear witness to these instances on a seemingly weekly basis, I urge you all to take a step back and look at what you’re doing. We need to realize that just because we as a nation are spending money on education and prevention, doesn’t mean that we’re actually changing behaviors.
Change isn’t going to happen in the White House or in a board room; its going to happen right there on your very own campus. On-campus sexual assault rates are higher than ever and I think it’s about time we start doing something about it.