Editorial: On the Prevention of Sexual Assault
It is of utmost importance that we come together to prevent sexual assault. The best way to do this is to speak up. If you see something, say something.
WCC and the state of New York have a policy for alcohol and drug use amnesty.
This policy “[p]rovides that no bystander or victim that reports, in good faith, any incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, will be charged with an alcohol or drug use violation of the institution’s code of conduct,” according to SUNY.
A lot of sexual assault victims don’t report their cases because they’re afraid of the consequences or they feel like it’s their fault. It’s important that we all take a part in the prevention, even if we have never been victims ourselves. Chances are we all know someone who has been affected by sexual assault. We can’t let people suffer alone or in silence.
We have to take sexual assault victims and the accused as seriously as possible. That most importantly consist of punishing those who are proven guilty in an appropriate way and providing support for victims.
We must never blame the victim. It doesn’t matter what the person was wearing, or if they were drinking. There is no excuse for sexual assault and for victim blaming. We can prevent future assaults by showing where we stand on the issue in the first place; that it is not tolerated.
According to Columbia University, “[a]ffirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
A way we can prevent sexual assault in our community and beyond is to spread awareness about the issue.
Protect your friends and peers. If we see someone in a situation that we think could be potentially harmful, we cannot simply be bystanders. Talk to the person, ask friends or others for help in dealing with the situation, or call the proper authorities.
Together we can minimize sexual assault in our community and beyond.