Assault on our campus

Trigger warning: sensitive topics discussed

Abigail Prichett, Staff Writer

Sexual assault. It’s a topic that’s been blowing up the national news stratosphere for the last few years with movements like #MeToo.

Lately it seems as if the topic has died down from its original flame, gaining less media attention than before. 

Even if it might be dying down on national news, it definitely hasn’t disappeared from our campus. This past Halloween weekend, a student was “abducted and sexually assaulted by two masked men in a gray Honda.” The alert was sent out at 9:35 a.m. on Saturday morning, just hours after the incident.

The second I saw the alert message on my phone, it felt as if my heart had stopped. I immediately texted all of my friends on upper campus to ask if they were alright. I awaited anxiously for their responses.

Then came the anger. Anger at why somebody would do that and thoughts of what I would do to the perpetrators. Then anger at the university for failing this young woman and the many others who have fallen victim to sexual assault on campus.

Now, it’s been a few days since the incident and I’ve had time to think about it. Obviously there isn’t much information to go off of as they only told us about the car and a general statement that it happened on upper campus. 

I wondered why me and many other students don’t feel safe on campus, more specifically upper campus, and then I realized: how am I supposed to feel safe when the university president himself has multiple sexual assault allegations against him? 

I haven’t heard anyone bring it up in a while, but in case you didn’t know, Dr. Hanna was paid $286,000 just to leave Kutztown University. Why? Because of “creating a hostile work environment” for female employees and “inappropriate” behavior. He’s also been accused of sexual misconduct here at good old Bloomsburg University. 

I would say I’m surprised that he hasn’t been dismissed from his position, but honestly, I’m not. I mean, Trump has piles of sexual assault accusations against him and he’s still the President of the United States, so obviously the people who hold power aren’t that bothered by it.

As for safety, this isn’t the first incident that has made me feel unsafe on campus. A little over a year ago, another young woman was assaulted at Montgomery Place Apartments (MPA). It was talked about for a little, but was quickly forgotten by many. 

I have not forgotten, because really, I can’t forget. Sometimes when I’m driving past MPA, I remember getting the alert. And even though I don’t know the victim, I think about how it must have felt to have that happen at a place where she was supposed to feel safe. 

How am I supposed to feel safe on a campus that doesn’t care about its students? How many assaults will it take until the campus decides to do something?

Many people are wondering what can be done to make upper campus safer and how sexual assaults can be prevented. One idea is to add more cameras on upper campus, especially in darker-lit areas. Adding more blue boxes would also be quite beneficial and would allow possible victims to call for help. 

It may be costly, but preventing sexual assault is far more important than the cost. This issue should be one of Bloomsburg University’s top priorities and I get the impression that it isn’t.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males will experience rape or sexual assault while in college. That’s 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men. 

But, only 20% of female victims will actually report the incident to the police. Why? Well for many, they believed that nothing would happen if they reported it. And with the way the University handles these assaults, they’re not wrong to feel like that. 

With men like Brock Turner getting light sentences for brutal rape, how are they supposed to feel? I mean seriously, even Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by over eighty women of sexual assault and rape, is still out enjoying himself at nightclubs. How are we supposed to feel like people are listening if absolutely nothing is being done about it?

Someday we’re all going to wake up to a timely warning telling us that someone’s been raped and murdered. What’s the president going to do then? Make a cookie-cutter statement about how sad it is and then sweep it under the rug just like everything else?

I’m sick of it. I don’t care how costly it is. Put more cameras on upper campus. Bring in more security and heighten the police presence. So what if that means the football team isn’t going to be getting brand new uniforms for the season? 

If it means making students feel safer, then action should be taken. I don’t pay $10,000 a semester for nothing. All of those that hold power at Bloomsburg University: DO SOMETHING.

I don’t want to wake up to any more timely warnings.

Abigail is a sophomore Mass Communications and French major and Staff Writer for The Voice.