If You or Someone You Know...

You can’t go to the bathroom on campus without seeing one: those pervasive posters about sexual assault and what to do if “you or someone you know” had undergone such an experience.  

Duke puts a lot of emphasis on the treatment of this particular type of trauma, but the conversation surrounding how to prevent it is a little lacking.  Yes, all first-years must attend True Blue, a talk about how to have safe, fun sex and how consent is a must.  However, it almost seems a little overdone and patronizing: who hasn’t heard the tired phrase ‘no means no’ by 2019?  Has it really stopped sexual assault rates? People understand how serious the issue is, but their opinions on it remain static.  Tangible action and efforts to change the prevailing attitudes about sexual assault (only exacerbated by the cultures of partying and perfection on campus) are slim to none.  Surprising, given the recent Central Campus rape case and notorious past incidents. Yet, no matter how true or fictional these incidents may be, the most the Board (and President Price) have done is send out reassuring emails about investigations.  There is no follow-up. The perpetrator continues to remain unnamed.

Even the resources for treatment are confusing.  Much of the emotional aspect is covered, via counseling at the Wellness and Women’s Center, but the physical aspect is not as quite clearly outlined.  STI screenings are not covered by the Health Fee, as indicated by the Student Affairs website. This may not seem like a big deal, but when the cost for a screening runs upwards of a few hundred dollars, it can get to be one.  These basic services for trauma should be readily available (and free…) if the university has highlighted sexual violence as such a large issue—so why are they not?

There are a multitude on student-run clubs and organizations working towards ameliorating this issue.  It’s about time that Duke pays them their due attention, and starts producing real results from their promises.