With going to college, whether you leave out of state, a few hours away or a few blocks, a critical topic that needs to be covered is campus safety. When talking about campus safety I’m not only talking about transportation and safety precautions for fires and earthquakes but sexual assault as well.
Here are the facts…
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource center, one in five women and one in seventy-one men will be raped at some point of their life. Twenty to twenty-five percent of college women and fifteen percent of college men have been assaulted and nearly two thirds of all college students experience harassment. All of this being said, the one thing that can be done to prevent sexually assault is to not do it, and acknowledge that sexual assault happens because we live in a society where rape culture is prevalent.
What is Rape culture?
“Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.”-Women’s Center Marshall University
Rape culture is perpetuated on college campuses through hazing, the tolerance of sexual harassment, sexually explicit jokes, and a blatant disregard for the safety of victims when they tell their experience. It is because of rape culture that many students are victims of sexual assault.
There is a desperate need for more conversations on consent, to respect everyone’s bodies (especially women, transgender and non-binary folks) and call out toxic and unsafe behavior. That is the only way to really improve campus safety for everyone. On most college campuses there are a multitude of resource centers for women and LGBTQ+ identifying folks to go and learn about the resources to protect themselves and to promote a safe college campus. These resources are also huge advocates for assault victims when they occur. From providing mental health services, legal aid, and financial aid, these are your best avenues for campus safety. Conversations about campus safety are uncomfortable to have in general, but in order to assure the best preparation for the reality of college and life, they are necessary.