Rape on College Campuses Should be Taken More Seriously

The University Police Office. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams
The University Police Office. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams
The University Police Office. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams
The University Police Office.
Photo Credit / Mitch Williams

Erin McGuire
Staff Writer

Rape seems to be a common topic, but it is never really talked about. You watch shows like Law and Order: SVU, and movies that involve assault, and sit through speeches in the beginning of college.

However, watching shows and hearing people talk statistics is a lot different than if it actually happens to you.

Regarding horrible situations like this, people always think that it could never happen to them but that is not the case in reality. According to US News in 2014, “During their freshman year of college 15 percent of women are raped while incapacitated from alcohol or drugs,” and the Washington Post states, “A Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year found that one in five young women who attended college in a four-year span said they had been sexually assaulted during that time.”

One in five girls! That means if you have 25 girls living on your floor, it is likely that five of them will be assaulted.

Pushing statistics aside, that leaves how rape is handled on campuses. I think it is safe to say that almost everyone has heard of Brock Turner aka “The Stanford Rapist.” Turner sexually assaulted a 23-year-old unconscious woman on his campus, and then only served t months in jail for it.

This leads to the controversial topic of punishment. Gender views aside, he assaulted a woman who was not able to give consent at the time. That is the exact definition of rape, and he should have gone through his entire punishment.

Now, Turner’s parents are stating that they are in fear of their son’s life because of the threats that he is getting every day. The truth is, he may be getting threats, but that woman will have to live with what he did to her for the rest of her life. He’s lucky all he is getting is a few threats.

Rapes occurr on every campus, including ours, and I feel in my opinion that they are almost never dealt with the way they should be.

During my freshman year at ESU, there was an overwhelming occurrence of assaults on my floor. So the building director felt like it would be a good idea to get all of the girls together and inform them of safety tips when walking at night.

That was great and all, but why weren’t the guys given a talk as well, considering it most commonly a male that is the assaulter?

To me, that was offensive and inconsiderate. Was this handled correctly?

An article in the NY Times states, “Female students are raped in appalling numbers, and their rapists almost invariably go free. Forced by the federal government, colleges have now gotten into the business of conducting rape trials, but they are not competent to handle this job. They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding student’s sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.”

Basically, college officials are not cops and they are not trained in how to deal with sexual assaults. That is understandable, but laws should be put in place that require some sort of change to the process currently in place.

The official statement of ESU, according to the ESU Police Annual Clery Crime and Fire Statistics Publication, is “The University will take prompt and equitable action to address acts of sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexual misconduct by educating members of its community, identifying clear reporting requirements, investigating all alleged violations of policy, and as appropriate, disciplining members of the community found in violation of the policy. Disciplinary action may range from disciplinary warning to expulsion or termination from the University.”

The ESU statement continues with, “Sexual offenses are major violations of the student code of conduct and a student found responsible by the student judicial process is subject to possible suspension or dismissal from the University. Any student, like non-student members of the University community, are also subject to charges through the criminal justice system for those acts, which violate legal statutes. A student found guilty of sexual offenses by legal statutes may also be subject to suspension or dismissal from the university. All persons are highly encouraged to report rapes and sexual offenses to the University Police Office immediately either by the individual or through a University staff member.”

For more information, this annual report is located on the ESU Police’s website.

Additional resources include, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS 570-422-3277 & www.esu.edu/caps), The V.O.I.C.E. Center (570-422-3225 & esuvoicecenter@gmail.com), Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline (570-421-4200), Office of Disability Services (351 Hoeffner Science and Technology Center & 570 422-3954), and Woman’s Resources Monroe County (CRISIS CENTER HOTLINE 570-421-4200).

It is always encouraged to report any assault that happens on campus, regardless of your gender. Remember, you are never alone, and you will make it through.

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