Sexual violence is a serious issue, but there are many resources to help

by Hannah Willis, Staff Columnist

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website, “One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.”

College, the place where high school graduates go to further their education and transition into adulthood, might just be the place where sexual assault and violence takes place the most.

In an attempt to better understand this issue of assaults and violences occurring on campuses nationwide, I turned to Jessica L. Nare, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center on campus at San Diego State.

This issue of sexual violence and assault has been occurring steadily for some time now and isn’t just beginning to occur, Nare said.

Due to the rise in media attention on this topic, there has simultaneously been more national attention to this issue as well. Instead of focusing on how to decrease your chances of falling victim to an assault, Nare encourages focusing on preventing violence from happening in the first place.

“Women shouldn’t have to feel scared walking across campus,” Nare said.

The majority of sexual assaults are induced by someone the victim already knows, not some random stranger, she said.

However, if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault or violence, there are many resources for you here on campus.

SDSU’s sexual assault victim advocate, Jenny Harper, is located in Student Health Services at the Calpulli Center.

She will be able to help navigate what exactly is available for the survivor on and off campus. Also, because she is a confidential, non-mandated resource, if someone mentions being a victim to an assault, she isn’t legally required to report it. She can also direct you to various other on-campus resources, such as the Title IX office, the SDSU Police Department and Counseling and Psychological Services.

Being able to discuss a traumatic event, like an assault, and have various resources available on and off campus is crucial and necessary for colleges and universities nationwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that 95 percent of U.S. campus rapes go unreported. This is partly due to today’s modern culture, which often blames the victim, so they feel at fault — such as, accusing a female of “asking for it” when she dresses in a revealing or promiscuous fashion. The truth of the matter is, women shouldn’t be bashed for being sexual beings or even for showing a little cleavage or a lot of leg. They are human beings regardless of their clothing and deserve to be treated equally and respectfully.

Victims also remain quiet because they are scared and vulnerable, or might feel that there will be no justice toward the perpetrator.

SDSU does its best to ensure all victims’ voices are heard and offer various resources to survivors, which allows them to recover mentally and physically, and receive the justice and security they deserve.

I encourage all SDSU students to visit the Title IX website and take the “It’s On Us” pledge. In doing so, we will all become better allies for the survivors and help keep our campus safe.