Content warning: sexual assault
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Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence – 1-888-999-5545
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) – 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
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On February 3rd, 2022, one brave survivor stood outside of Rowe to bring awareness to a pertinent issue that affects far too many people on the UConn campus. She stood strong, in the rain and cold, holding two signs. One read “I was raped and UConn silenced me,” the other displayed horrifying statistics about the way UConn handles sexual assault cases. The numbers revealed terrifyingly high rates of sexual assault, making UConn tied for first in the nation, and shockingly low investigation rates of reported cases. As a woman, this problem has never been a secret, but for my own sanity, I had always put it out of my mind. The actions of this courageous survivor have made the issue completely impossible to ignore any longer.
Though it is true that this issue is not unique to UConn, it is disgusting how underwhelming the response is to reported cases. How can a university with such high rates of sexual assault not take each and every case seriously or take drastic steps to reduce the problem? I think I speak for everyone when I say enough is enough. Generations of UConn alumni have responded to the overwhelming social media attention. Countless survivors have expressed their own anger at the continuous mistreatment of sexual assault victims on campus. The outpouring of support was startling as the number of stories piled up. Current UConn students responded with multiple protests and walkouts in the week following. No one is letting the UConn administration ignore this problem.
On February 6th, current UConn president Radenka Maric responded to the issue with a lukewarm email. To me, her words showed little to no intention for change and simply passed the issue off as a cultural issue. Though I agree that rape culture is far too prevalent on our campus, it is more than clear that there are systematic issues that exist within the processes and procedures used by UConn to address sexual assault cases. Sure, the students here need to be there for each other and work together to stop the cycle of violence, but the institution also needs to take responsibility for the gross treatment of reported cases. There is no reason for only 3.75% of cases to be investigated. Every single survivor who is brave enough to come forward deserves justice. Change is NECESSARY.
Change is NECESSARY
I am scared. As a result of the low investigation, there are countless individuals walking around campus who have violated women and seen little to no discipline. These people are sitting in your classes, eating in your dining halls, living in your dorms, attending your parties. This is terrifying. I can’t even imagine the fear survivors feel knowing that at any moment they could run into the person who is responsible for their trauma. We deserve better, Huskies. Stop settling and never let them forget us.
UConn, you have to do better. You say “Students first, UConn always.” However, there has been nothing but words coming from your end. If you care about your students and if you care about creating a safe campus for all of us to live and learn in, stop making excuses and stop denying the severity of the issue. Do something. Take us seriously. Take care of your Huskies.