Earlier this week, some truly upsetting information about our university was released in an article for the Reno Gazette-Journal, by higher education reporter Siobhan McAndrew.
According to the director of UNR’s Title IX office, Denise Cordova, there was a grand total of 135 investigated cases of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, stalking and domestic and dating violence last year alone. Of that 135, there were 16 reports of sexual assaults handled in Cordova’s office last year as well.
Sexual assault is obviously a real problem, not only on this campus but in the nation. According to rainn.org (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, women ages 18-24 who are enrolled in college are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. And, according to a report by the Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action (The White House Council), 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted while in college.
This is an issue that deserves way more attention than it has been getting. With election season upon us, some candidates have rolled out platforms to address what has been called an epidemic of assault on campuses, but it’s simply not enough.
With the majority of these sexual assault reports, the assault is happening to women. Rainn.org also states that 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8percent completed rape; 2.8 percent attempted rape). As for men, 3 percent of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
For the most part men aren’t the targets, men are the offenders. Rather it be rooted in poor upbringings or simply the lack of education men are receiving on the topic, there has to be more of an effort put in by the members of our communities in order stop or at least decrease the statistic of sexual assault towards women. Even in most recent news, the court case involving Ke$ha illustrates that yet another young woman has been assaulted and seen no justice.
Walking at night, I don’t ever fear that I’ll be sexually assaulted, or even on the weekends when I’m drinking I never worry if someone is going to take advantage of me due to my intoxicated state. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it is true.
Outside of the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center today there were a group of young women tabeling outside with an easel that said “YES! consent is…”. Coming straight from yesalways.org, YES! Always is a campaign aimed at getting college students to ask for consent while also empowering them to own their bodies, using consent-driven and sex positive messages.
The campaign hit the ground running last semester, and it did a great job at gaining student attention. Last semester it was a campaign that had predominantly female involvement but this semester it’s looking to extend the connection more directly to male students in hopes of spreading the campaign to other campuses and communities.
I agree. It’s campaigns like YES! Always that need to be talked about. Sex should be talked about. But I think young men that don’t understand the importance of consent need to be educated on the topic of sexual assault. There’s nothing masculine about sexually assaulting a woman, so why not be a gentlemen and learn more about consent and spread that knowledge.
I have a younger sister coming to this university next year that I hold very dear to my heart. I couldn’t even fathom the thought of my sister being sexually assaulted in a place that should be safe. If you’re a guy put yourself in the shoes of the closest woman in your life; and, imagine finding out that that woman was sexually assaulted. Let’s stand up and be real men — men that care about and take action towards enforcing consent.
Terrance Bynum studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TerranceJBynum.