Rape and sexual assault are prevalent issues on college campuses across the nation. I am thankful for the University of Idaho, and all of the work done to prevent these things from happening to students. Rape still happens on our campus. I acknowledge that UI isn’t perfect, but I cringe when I hear about stories like “Dartmouth Student Encourages Rape of Classmate on Anonymous Site”.
A Dartmouth student recently posted on an anonymous campus message board encouraging the rape of another student. The description of what he wanted to happen to the female student was disgusting. He instructed other students on how to coax her into feeling comfortable with them and then doing what they wanted with her – even if she said no, they were to do it anyways because she actually really wanted it.
The student who was the target of the post, responded on the same anonymous site. She said all those exact things happened to her. The student also said she reported to the administration the post was directed at her, and they did nothing to help. A professor wrote a piece in the student newspaper urging the university to take more measures to prevent sexual assault on the Dartmouth campus, and the university finally responded. They will be building a center to address sexual assaults and prevention on campus starting July 1. My questions is, why did it take so long for that to happen?
President Obama recently sent out a call to action for all universities across the nation. Vice President Joe Biden, who spearheaded many of the violence against women acts and federal mandates of college campuses, has also demanded a change on campuses across the country. Every single federally-funded college in this country has requirements mandated by Title IX on how to address sexual assault and rape. Dartmouth had to know about all these requirements and resources available to help them prevent sexual assault in their community. Does it really take a threat to student on a school sponsored website to draw attention to the issue of sexual assault on campus?
The Greek community can be an amazing place, but it can also be a truly dark place. Someone needs to shed light on these shadows so everyone can see, and their ignorance becomes a choice. No one deserves to have their education come to screeching halt when someone assaults them. People deserve the opportunity to flourish on their campus. College is a pivotal, important time in life. No one deserve that kind of treatment – anytime or anywhere.
I’m aware that assaults happen to University of Idaho students. I’m aware our campus isn’t completely safe, but I have seen the resources available to students and I find comfort in that. I find comfort in the fact that there is a Women’s Center on campus, where staff is trained on how to handle students in crisis. I find comfort in the fact that there is a position specifically dedicated to violence prevention programs. There are so many things available, and they need to be utilized more.
Students have so much power. If students don’t like that rapes and assaults happen on campus, they need to stand up. I hate seeing my generation disagree with something, only to sit back and watch it happen again and again. People need to raise their voice and make their opinion known. It’s not something that can just change overnight. There needs to be a social change surrounding rape culture and sexual assault. There is so much negative, and it needs to stop.
Universities need to stop shaming survivors in order to save face. Administrators need to step up for the survivors instead of protecting the assailants. There are so many things that can be done; I long to see those changes. I long for a world where survivors feel comfortable reporting assaults to campus officials. They need support and care. They should be able to find it in the faculty and staff of their chosen home.
I’m proud to say I’m a Vandal, because the administration does so many things right. I’m not proud to say I’m a part of a generation of college students who cannot seem to understand the damaging effects of rape culture. So much can be done. As said best by Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and speaker, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” This tipping point is near