Here we are, at the end of another busy semester. As our finals draw closer, so does the sweet freedom of summer vacation. As we all traipse back to our own families (and our own beds, more importantly), it is important to remember that sexual assault is not something you get to leave behind in your college town like an uncomfortable dorm bed.
Between 20 and 25% of college aged women will be victims of some form of sexual assault.
More often than not, an attacker is someone you know: someone you trust. Upwards of 90% of college-aged victims know their attacker. The statistics about college aged sexual assaults aren’t secluded to university towns, or even to those who are actively attending college.
When you go home this summer, remember to remain cautious. According to Leigh Hofheimer’s Rape Prevention Tips, these are the top ten prevention tips.
- Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.
- When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.
- If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.
- If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.
- When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.
- Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.
- Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
- Use the Buddy System! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.
- Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.
- Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be raping her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.
Rape is not caused by alcohol, short skirts, or lust. Rape is caused by those who rape. Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. Sexual assault on college campuses is a painfully prevalent problem, but we are moving forward. Frostburg has done so much this semester. Between the hiring of Emily Caputo, the climate survey currently circulating the student body, and the Bthe1 campaign, Frostburg State University is changing.
The first step to change is accepting that there is a problem. Nationwide Title IX investigations have made it very clear to universities around the country that there is a problem with how administrations handle reports of assault.
Change cannot occur overnight. There will not be a day that we, as a society, wake up to a miraculous change. Our climate cannot change without our help: without the help of millions of people.
Use your summer wisely. Stay safe. If you feel uncomfortable, voice it. If you see a problem, speak up. It can be uncomfortable to step in and stop a situation, especially when one of the people involved is a friend, but it is far worse to deal with the repercussions of a completed sexual assault than the interruption of one.
Don’t let a friend be led to a room if they are not capable of coherent consent. Don’t let a friend berate someone who is clearly not interested. Don’t stay silent if a friend tells you that something terrible has happened to them.
As always: Speak up, and fight back.