Being a second year at Oxford College of Emory University comes with a lot of perks, knowing the ins and out of Lilian’s fine dining, which shower stalls have the best water pressure, and how unfair the system to obtain justice for sexual assault survivors can be. Sexual assault on a college campus is unfortunately no longer a shock to people, in fact there is labeled time that makes my skin crawl, the “red zone”.
The Red Zone represents the time at the beginning of the academic year when the rate of sexual assault speed rockets nationwide. The Department of Justice has marked this period to be between the arrival of students on campus in late August to the end of November around Thanksgiving break. This time has been categorized as the period where students are at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted than any other time in a students’ college career. The acknowledgement of the Red Zone frightens incoming students and the student leaders on campus whose responsibility is to ensure a safe space for the incoming students.
As a campus leader, specifically an orientation leader, knowing about the epidemic of the red zone, I made it my mission to warn and educate as many of the incoming students about the risks and measures that they could take to ensure their safety. Revision, the intersectional club on campus had their first discussion on date rape drugs to educate and arm the students who came out to the discussion with the tools to fight against this epidemic. The Revision Executive Board warned them about the slimy tendencies of fraternity houses, which houses to stay away from, what behaviors to be on the look-out for, which parties to avoid, etc.
Unfortunately, as a leader on this campus, I failed these incoming students. Why might you ask? Simply because all the warnings we gave these incoming students were for places off campus, because in my naïve mind, I could not picture someone within the Oxford campus community to have the indecency to sexually assault another student. I failed to arm these students with the tools to fight against their neighbors, the people whom study with them on campus, against the ones who claim to be feminist allies. Now I stand alongside many other leaders on campus running around attempting to find ways in which we can change the campus rape culture. Oxford College of Emory University has confirmed the Red Zone theory, a thought that shakes me to the core.