According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim. These assailants are acquaintances and friends. They can live down the hall or sit behind us in class, and yet we do not seem to take sexual violence and assault on WCU’s campus seriously. What we should be asking ourselves is how are we, as students on a college campus, taking action to prevent sexual misconduct?
“That test just raped me” is something commonly heard by students after difficult assignments. A drunken sexual encounter is the funny story re-told at the cafeteria the next morning. We mock the 5’8″ white male wearing a hoodie described in campus emails. The problem lies in turning rape and forms of assault into jokes that invalidate real instances of sexual violence and assault. When we start to take these issues seriously, we can work towards changing the campus climate.
We need to step up as West Chester University students to combat sexual violence and assault in our personal lives by not tolerating the use of rape as a joke in our classrooms. We need to stand up to our friends when they try and take someone home who is clearly unable to consent. We need to take responsibility for our own bodies and our actions.
Studies have shown one out of four women on West Chester’s campus will be sexually assaulted before graduation but only 5% will report it (RAINN). It is now easier than ever to log on to www.wcupa.edu/sexualmisconduct and report an act of sexual assault or violence. Even if a victim does not want to come forward, anonymous reporting alerts the school that we have a problem on campus-and we do have a problem. We cannot let sexual assault and sexual violence remain invisible in our campus community.
I would like to point out that while some students can easily overcome the stress of an eventful and overwhelming semester by reading a motivational quote, this is simply not the case for others. As a student and one of the 3.1 percent of Americans suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I often have a very difficult time dealing with the every day tasks involved in being a student. Unlike others, I cannot simply breathe to overcome my stress.
When I first saw your article titled, “Overcoming the stresses of a new semester,” I was expecting to read an article that would help students with and without anxiety disorders take control of their stressful semester immediately and effectively. However, the article that I read focused on controlling stress by picturing the long-term goal of graduation and reading inspirational quotes. I find that this is not necessarily helpful for anyone, especially those who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders. I strongly believe that in the future, it would be imperative to write articles that would help all students focus on short and long-term responses to school related stress such as effective steps to overcome anxiety and stress.