The Truth about Sexual Assault in College

When you think of sexual assault, you might think of some variation of the following scenario: a helpless girl walking alone in a presumably unsafe area at night, when she’s suddenly attacked, drugged, and taken somewhere to be assaulted. It’s horrific and disgusting, and attacks like this do occur. However, these cases are easier to look at in a black and white manner, so there is often little to no victim blaming.

But the truth is, 75-80% of rapes in the U.S are committed by known people. 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college, as are about 4% of men (You can read more information here). The perpetrator is probably not some masked, creepy old man preying on young girls. On the contrary, these predators are usually “normal” people who might even be in some of your classes. This is not to say that a large number of men are rapists—a small number of perpetrators are serial offenders.

As a part of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, many survivors bravely shared their experiences by writing about them on t-shirts, which were hung up around the SCU library and other places on campus:

It is understandable that victims are so reluctant to come forward. Rape is the only crime in which victims are blamed or not taken seriously, especially when the accused is also a student at a university. The good news for victims is there are resources you can, and should, take advantage of. The most helpful is the Violence Prevention Program, or the VPP. The Violence Prevention Program is “a peer-based organization aimed at spreading awareness and education about sexual assault at SCU and empowering the student body to be proactive bystanders to protect fellow Broncos. The Violence Prevention Program also aims to be a resource for those who are survivors of sexual assault for friends of survivors.” You may get in touch with the officers of the VPP by emailing them at [email protected].

Something else we should all be familiar with is Title IX, a federal civil right that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education. Under Title IX, schools are legally required to ensure a victim can safely and comfortably continue their education without the threat of sexual harassment or discrimination. Regardless of whether you decided to report or not, you always have the right to file a formal Title IX complaint, and your school must ensure you get your education in a hostile free environment.

Sexual assault is something no one should have to deal with. If you are or a loved one is going through this, know that you are strong enough to get past these difficult times. And remember that whatever you are going through, you are not alone.