Editorial: College campuses must do more when it comes to sexual assault

Editorial Staff

There is no question that being sexually assaulted will forever traumatize a person for the rest of his or her life. Unfortunately, 84 percent of the women who reported sexual abuse experienced the incident during their first four semesters on a college campus, according to an examination of sexual violence against college women by the University of Mississippi.

So, what are colleges doing in order to help curb those numbers on college campuses? Not enough.

Between 20 and 25 percent of women will experience an attempted or completed rape during their college career, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

That’s one out of four women who will have to live with the horrible experience of being raped for a lifetime, as well as the potential of becoming pregnant from being raped or catching sexually transmitted diseases from the rape.

With March being Women’s History Month, the support and seriousness going into rape prevention on college campuses is nothing close to impressive or noticeable.

It is not something that somebody can just “get over,” and the amount of sexual assaults on campuses do not look like they are going to decrease anytime soon.

If college administrations take rape more seriously, the numbers of rape occurrences on campus will decrease.

The appropriate response to any sexual assault is taking every occurrence seriously and avoiding assumptions that a victim is lying.

More than half of those raped tell no one of the attack, and only 2 percent of reported incidents turn out to be false, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Campuses should create a policy strongly encouraging victims to report rape incidents.

The term rape is thrown around as a term of amusement for a lot of young adults. Campus-based sexual assault programs should educate students that rape is nothing to be taken lightly, and especially not for entertainment or amusement.

President Barack Obama is pushing to curb sexual assaults on college campuses by recently announcing the development of a task force, spotlighting the issue of rape on a national level.

The aim of the task force builds on administration efforts to curb sexual assault on campus. Under federal laws, schools are obligated to prevent and address sexual assault, and to report crimes on campus, according to an article from TIME magazine.

On a more local level, colleges can help rape victims and lower the number of sexual assaults with a few important steps.

Colleges should always provide educational programs and support services to students, as well as developing a set procedure when attacks happen to help ensure the safety of students.

Cosumnes River College took the appropriate steps towards rape prevention by holding a rape prevention panel on March 5 involving different community members discussing rape prevention, including Capt. John McPeek of the LRCCD police department.

Holding the perpetrators of sexual assault responsible for their actions, and not letting them off lightly is a start.

Blaming the victim or giving out a soft punishment for the attacker gives them the message they can do it again and get away with it.

Everyone on campus should work together and get as many people involved as possible to curb sexual assaults.

Nobody should have to worry about fending off a sexual attack when they attend college to better their lives. Let’s make the effort to enhance the safety of colleges and decrease the number of rape cases.