Sexual Assault Awareness Month: The Conversation is Far From Over

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. In the wake of mass movements like #MeToo it can be really easy for the public to think that the problem has been solved and move on. But, the conversation on Sexual Assault and Harassment is far from over. 

I originally thought the Me Too Movement was a new social movement, however, it actually got its start in 2006. The Me Too Movement began with Tarana Burke, who is an American social activist, when she used the phrase “me too” on Myspace to highlight how often sexual harassment occurred. The movement was created to show survivors that they are not alone and that they are supported. The movement gained popularity in 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano used #MeToo on social media. The hashtag is still incredibly popular and gains new posts daily. The fact that survivors are still sharing their stories, whether they are new or old, shows that sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is still a frequent occurrence and that it is still an issue that remains unsolved. 

As college students, we have to remind ourselves that sexual harassment is not restricted solely to the workplace. It is easily possible for the harassment to come from professors or other people in power on college campuses. It is incredibly important that college students are aware of the resources that are available to them should they need to report any incidences of sexual harassment or assault.

Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, many colleges and universities were advertising the resources they provide to victims of sexual assault. However, many of these universities don’t put a focus on these resources during the rest of the school year, which they should. Sexual assault is, unfortunately, a common occurrence on and around many college campuses, especially if the campus is in a large city. While, legally, universities and colleges are required to publish the statistics on sexual assault on their campuses, this information is not always widely known. 

The conversation of sexual assault, especially on college campuses, is FAR from over. Out of 1000 sexual assaults, 995 perpetrators will walk free. This largely has to do with extreme underreporting. About 3 out of 4 sexual assaults go unreported. There are many reasons as to why a survivor wouldn’t report their sexual assault and obviously this is their choice and their choice only. However, the reason they do not report their sexual assault should not be because they feel that they won’t be believed. As a collective population, it is our duty to support survivors and reassure them that we believe them. 

There are still so many steps that need to take place in order to reduce and eventually stop the occurrence of sexual harassment and assault. But until those steps are taken educate yourself on the resources available to you to protect and support yourself. And, if a friend or classmate comes to you and confides in you about being assaulted or harassed, please do them and yourself a favor, and believe them. 

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-565-HOPE

Resources for University of Delaware Students:

S.O.S. - Sexual Offense Support (confidential) - 302-831-1001

Student Wellness and Health Promotion (confidential) - 302-831-3457

Center for Counseling and Student Development (confidential) - 302-831-2141