After two sexual assaults, it's time to pay attention

Jen Noel
Staff Reporter

Here at McDaniel it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday events of college life: classes, fundraisers, and activities. We often fail to stop and notice the pieces of the “real world” that manage to filter into campus, good and bad. Well, now is the time to stop and become aware.In the last issue, after reporting the two sexual assaults that occurred in as many weeks on campus, I was caught off guard. When sifting through the weekly events that appear on the Campus Safety blotter, I generally look for the unusual and funny incidents that students manage to get involved in.

However, as I scanned the pages, the events that grabbed my attention were in no way funny, or even meant as filler for the Lighter Side. After I read the reports filed that described two separate sexual assaults on our quiet campus I simply felt one emotion?disturbed.

Immediately, my thoughts went to the victims and the courage they had to come forward and report an occurrence of this nature and magnitude.
My thoughts quickly turned, though, to the offenders who may still be on campus and blending in with other students every day.

When I decided to write this piece, I immediately turned to the internet to locate some statistics on sexual assaults and a series of startling facts presented themselves.
First, as I typed the phrase “sexual assaults” into the Google search bar, the first auto-fill completion that popped up was “sexual assaults on college campuses.” From this, I immediately realized that the issues that have arisen here are plaguing other campuses as well.

In fact, one out of four women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Also, 80% of sexual assault victims know their attacker. However, the fact that alarmed me the most was that only 27% of women sexually assaulted felt what happened to them was actually assault and 84 % of male offenders reiterated, stating their actions were not assault either.

So now it’s our turn to do something with these facts?we, as a college community, need to become aware not only about reporting sexual assaults (only 5% of victims tell someone they were assaulted) but also where to get support.

McDaniel outlines a specific policy in the Student Handbook regarding how sexual assault cases are handled on campus. The college supports the student/victim’s rights how to best utilize campus services such as counseling or electing to call Rape Crisis, as well as getting Westminster City Police involved.

“It is vital in the early stages after a sexual assault for the survivor to gain control back,” said Megan Hearron from Counseling Services. “That’s why we give them options, they have the right to choose.”

Many victims of sexual assault do not choose to seek further judicial action, which is often the case here at McDaniel as well.
“It is often scary for the victim to expose themselves further in a sexual assault case,” said Hearron.

If you or someone you know is the victim of a sexual assault, encourage them to seek help. Counseling services are always available as well as Rape Crisis 24 hours a day. It is important that we all join to aid in raising awareness of not only sexual assaults but also how to find support.

The message I want to send is simple: if you’re not concerned, you’re not paying attention.

Statistics compiled from: