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Together with the advances humanity has reached so far, there are still such burning issues as sexual assault on campuses to be dealt with. The problem exists throughout the U.S. and comprises about 19% of cases when sexual contact was without mutual consent. They are not rare cases, and the number is huge. So, we have to do something about it to prevent potential sexual harassment and help victims find support.
The notion of Sexual Assault
To start dealing with a problem, one must clearly understand what the problem is. In the case of sexual assault, the term is the following:
Sexual assault can be defined as sexual contact without consent or sexual behavior, which violates personal boundaries and is expressed in various forms from sexual touching to rape or forced sex. Sexual assault always has a victim and an insulter (sometimes it can be a group of insulters).
Very often, victims of sexual misconduct don’t possess all the information, and may not even know that such misconduct refers to sexual assault and has to be reported about.
Our task today is to provide comprehensive information to such people or their nearest and dearest people to solve the issue.
Statistics of Sexual Assault in the U.S.
It is not correct to think that only females can be victims of sexual contact without consent. And, in most cases, the act of sexual harassment doesn’t happen out of thin air, there are some indications of it, but people are afraid to act or don’t know how to prevent it.
According to the current statistics, 74% of sexually assaulted women don’t report about sexual abuse. Even more LGBTQ representatives keep silent about what happened to them. And only 7% of men resolve to report about being the victims of sexual abuse.
As you can see, a huge percentage of sexual victims are afraid to tell about it. Moreover, it is not regulated at the country level to make people aware of how to act in such situations.
For skeptics, we’ve found the data reported by the RAINN organization that about 11,2% of students in America have been the victims of sexual violence for the past ten years. In addition to it, almost 5% of students in the United States have been struggling with stalking during the same period.
Again, according to RAINN reports, students of 18-24 years old, who live on campus constitute 78% and 20% correspondingly of most frequent victims of sexual harassment. So, when will we do anything to deal with it?
First, society often fails to recognize such cases. Secondly, law enforcement authorities are extremely seldom reported about acts of sexual violence from students.
When sexual crimes remain unpunished, they tend to multiply. This is what we need to remember about to eradicate such misconduct.
Assault Prevention: How to Avoid Being a Victim
We aim to show you the ways on how to address the problem before it even happened:
- Speak about the problem. If offenders know about your potential inaction, they are more disposed to turn into violence.
- Let everybody on campus know about your willingness to stop the problem of sexual harassment.
- Play safe – always carry a pepper spray with you, and make sure your privacy setting in social media doesn’t reveal your routes to potential stalkers.
- Always lock your dorm room, especially at night. And don’t ever try any substances from strangers at the parties.
What if it Already Happened to You?
If you are a victim of sexual violence, don’t put on ice, act immediately.
- Go to the hospital and receive medical help.
- At the hospital, you will be examined and given evidence of sexual assault against the abuser.
- Tell about the harassment to your college administration.
- Report to the police about sexual misconduct towards you. They know what to do in such cases, and will ensure your security.
Reasons for not Keeping Silent
It is evident why such crimes as sexual assault is widely spread on campuses around the country. Students don’t usually report about them, because of being scared. Also, there is no knowledge about special programs for sexual assault victims, which help them reel from the past.
Besides this, men, for instance, find it harder to accept being sexually assaulted. For LGBTQ members, the confess is connected with extra pressure from society.
How to Protect Yourself After an Abuse?
Although it is difficult to move beyond trauma after sexual violence, there are some things you can do to feel secure:
- Initially, communicate with people you rely on. After that, it will be easier for you to address law bodies, which will protect you.
- Never keep silent – insulters select those victims, who can’t protect themselves either physically or legally, but you can if you report the crime.
- Follow the rules described in the section above “What if it Already Happened to You? And remember, reporting an assault is the only way to stop it.
- Avoid being alone – stay with entrusted people.
How to Support an Assault Victim
Being a friend or a relative of a sexual assault victim is not easier than being a victim yourself. It is a great responsibility to support an abused person who entrusted you with his/her trauma.
The most important thing is to convince the victims to report the assault. However, don’t do it yourself without the consent of the victims. Just be there and make them feel cared about.
Resources for Campus Sexual Assault Victims
It’s a good thing that there are numerous resources to support people who experienced sexual assault. There you will be understood and comforted:
RAINN or Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is the biggest organization in the USA, which everyone can contact in case of abuse.
You can reach out to this organization any day or an hour and with any kind of crime that you’ve become a victim of.
Joyful Heart Foundation
It offers psychological support for victims of sexual harassment.
National Street Harassment Hotline
The service is operated by RAINN. They are available 24/7 and accept both phone calls and written messages, which are sometimes safer.
National Teen Dating Abuse Online Helpline
Students can contact this helpline when feeling intimidated by offenders. The organization also provides psychological or legal help if you have a toxic relationship.
U.S. Department of Justice: National Sex Offender Public Website
You can contact this organization if you’ve become a victim or witnessed a sexual assault to prevent it from happening again.
Stalking Resource Center
Stalking is very dangerous, as it characterizes people capable of violent things. In case you notice stalking, address this organization the sooner, the better.
Pathways to Safety International
This organization assists students who often travel and stop for a night in a stranger surrounding. Its task is to check that your stay is safe, and there’s no threat of sexual assault.
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Even though this organization is at the University of Utah, it is active in protecting sexual assault victims throughout the country.
GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project
It’s a pity, but still, LGBTQ members are often attacked and become victims of sexual assault by haters. The organization in question serves as a shelter for LGBTQ people, who lack protection.
Make sure you know where you can find a special board in your college or university, which addresses such issues too.
Don’t remain silent! You are not going to be blamed for the truth and your own security. You have the right to defend yourself. Very often, you can’t deal with the offender without help. Knowing that you will not make any complaint can give leeway to assaulters.
So, never leave it to yourself if sexual misconduct happened to you. Moreover, your bravery can save hundreds of other innocent people from being attacked.