Increase Consent Education, Decrease Rape Culture Perpetuation

 

 

This past week, UA students were informed of a sexual assault that occurred the evening after the Iron Bowl game. After the announcement, UA listed off its reminders of safety precautions to avoid such incidents happening, mainly directed toward female students.

 

 

Though, I know the world isn't a fairytale and certainly not always a safe place and I respect their tips that are given to us, it makes me feel sad that as a young woman, it's all on me to make sure that I am not assaulted. I am forced to be watchful of my surroundings, be mindful about what I'm wearing, how much I drink on a night out. All these tips, these “rules” are typically aimed at women only. Why isn’t consent and respect not preached to men? It simply is just not right, not fair. If something should happen to me, it will always be subjected to those very details. Where does the support come? Where does the acknowledgement that this isn’t okay and my university, my community is going do everything possible to end this? I would appreciate if officials and society, said that is is unacceptable and we are going to do all we can to support this victim and make sure everything possible is done so this doesn’t happen to any more of our students.

Unfortunately, the reality is that many sexual assault survivors face the cold curtain of questioning, nearly left to believe the assault was their own fault. This causes victims to be less likely to report their assault in fear of not being believed or justice being sought out for them. Though the recent reports of sexual assault seem alarming, the number of unreported assaults is far more frightening.

 

 

Though there are many initiatives to such as It’s On Us, I think it is going to take law officials and administrations to truly step up to the plate on these issues. The University of Alabama, UAPD, and the Tuscaloosa Police Department must do more to combat rape culture on the end of the perpetrators. University of Alabama students are required to take an online AlcoholEDU program and a bystander intervention program before the beginning of their freshman year, but these are not enough. Many students do not take them seriously. Some students do not complete them at all and face no consequences. A continuing educational program for all students - not just freshmen, and NOT just women, is essential for improving the safety of our campus.

 

Some say these continued programs are unsustainable. They argue that students will not attend or they will continue not to take the content seriously. If the University of Alabama were to create a program that educated all students on consent throughout their four years at the Capstone, attendance should be mandatory. Students attend universities to get an education, and our university should be responsible for the social part of that education as well as the academic.

 

It is irresponsible and low-effort for the university to rely on student-led initiatives to prevent sexual assault on campus. If victims of robbery are not made to be responsible for preventing future robberies, why are those affected by sexual assault and rape relied on by the university to run these programs?