All Seeing Eyes: The Importance of Reporting Sexual Assault

Move in week and the few weeks to follow are often a very exciting time, particularly so for incoming freshman who finally get their first college experiences out of the way, all while making new friends and adjusting to living away from home and out of parental control. While it's exciting to get out there the first couple nights of college and meet new people, it is unfortunate to realize that a lot of dangers and incidents arise out of the college night life within the days even before classes start. A primary problem on UW-Stout's campus this last week has revolved around reported sexual assaults beginning as early as move-in day up until now, where a total of four so far have been reported and communicated campus-wide. After having experienced both being a witness to these situations and hearing stories from other victims, I believe it is import to reiterate how crucial it is to report and become aware of sexual assault as it happens around us.

The importance of reporting, especially in cases of physical and sexual assault, is often set aside due to fear of the victim or by witnesses who do not want to involve themselves. However, reporting as soon as you see it happen or as soon as possible if a phone is not readily available will allow for predators and instigators to be charged promptly as well as raising the awarness of sexual assault cases being a problem via StoutAlert. Awareness is key in the fight to stop sexual assaults and hate crimes from happening, so acting as a reporter from the witness or victim standpoint is extremely important in raising awareness of a problem that every campus faces. 

Reporting cases also solve a numerous amounts of problems in the long run as well. As seen in the graphic below, there are some extremely scary statistics revolving around the amounts of sexual assault cases that are unreported and how often sexual assault happens.

 

As more reports are made, multiple or even repeat offenders can be arrested and not pose anymore threats to students which, in turn, may return levels of security to students who felt endangered by the situation. Furthermore, as more reports are made, more students will recognize the issues on their own campuses, revolving around sexual assault and more programs such as Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) and GSA (Gender & Sexuality Alliance) will begin to base their events and missions around raising awareness for sexual assaults on campus.

This is a pressing issue of which many do not seem to recognize the importance, whether it because they haven’t experienced or witnessed it themselves, or because there isn’t enough awareness. With enforcing the idea of reporting sexual assault to your local campus security force or police department, sexual assault related crimes will begin to decline all while awareness for the issue will increase.