Ah campus, a place where you should feel safe and secure. I mean, part of that 10 thousand you pay per semester is going to keep you safe, right? And even though there are a plethora of blue boxes situated around the campus, leading all the way up to blue lot, there still seems to be a lack of security.
Now, we are a public campus, meaning anyone can walk onto our campus. This can become a problem for anyone walking to their dorm from a late-night study session at the library. This is not to say that a college student can’t assault another student, but being a public institution opens up the possibilities of who could be on campus.
Many people will say that assaults are a rarity on our campus, which is a false statement. Assaults, whether sexual in nature or not, happen far more often than you would think.
Approximately one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted or raped while in college. And only one of those five women will actually report it to the police. So yes, even though the latest campus rape garners a lot of attention, there are hundreds of thousands that have never, and most likely will never, be reported.
Bloomsburg University is not a safe-haven among universities. We are not an exception, so don’t fool yourself into thinking that we are. People are assaulted at parties constantly. Whether it be a man groping a woman in a crowded house-party or someone being drugged and raped, it happens.
Every time an assault happens, or even a robbery, or a hit and run, I always see people who are so surprised that it happened in Bloomsburg. “Not Bloomsburg!” or “How could that happen here?” These things happen everywhere and we are not immune to them. The main thing is working together in order to prevent these assaults.
Keep wearing whatever you want to wear. Go to parties and have fun, but make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave your drink alone where it could be messed with.
Remember that you’re not alone if you’ve been a victim of assault on campus or elsewhere. The only person at fault in the case of a sexual assault or rape is the perpetrator, whether it be a renowned football star or a friendly coworker.
As for walking back to your apartment or dorm alone, I recommend getting an app called “Noonlight.” It features a button you can press if you feel unsafe that immediately alerts local police. Sometimes you might not be near a blue box or you can’t get to one inconspicuously and this app could be useful.
Preventing sexual assault is a difficult act. No matter how many seminars there are or movements created, they are still going to happen. It also needs to be thoroughly understood that if you do not get consent from somebody and you go ahead and have sex with them anyway, you’ve committed rape. There is no question here.
If you get a maybe and you proceed, you have NOT received consent. And repeatedly asking someone until they say yes is manipulative and technically, yes, is also considered rape if you go ahead and have sex with them.
I’ve seen men laugh this off and state that it’s all too-serious, but I’d like to say that if you overhear a person trying to explain how this whole consent thing is “confusing,” then there’s a possibility that they’re trying to rationalize a time where they probably didn’t get full-consent.
The point is that you need to be careful. Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Don’t ever assume that it couldn’t happen to you. Sexual predators target people of all races, ages, ethnicities, sizes, and genders. And even a smaller university in Pennsylvania has sexual assaults. Believe it or not, they’re happening right under your nose.
Abigail is a sophomore Mass Communications major and is a Staff Writer for The Voice.