Letter to the Editor

Carmen Stockberger Graduate Assistant for the Interpersonal Violence Prevention

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Dear Editor,

I really like that the campus is taking the issues of recent assaults on campus so seriously, but I wish students felt differently about their power to prevent dangerous situations from occurring.

When the women I live with are afraid to take the trash out at night because they’ve heard of three separate “rapes,” it’s very disheartening. I think that Western Illinois University’s streets should be a safe place to

walk at night without fearing for our safety. The thing we need to emphasize is how large a role we play as individuals that can make

that happen.

If you see something taking place that makes you uncomfortable, you

have the power to do something. We can all be bystanders for sexual

assault and prevent interpersonal violence from happening. It’s as

simple as grabbing your friend at a party and saying “it’s time to go” or creating a distraction to break up a potentially threatening situation.

Certainly, no one is asking that you put yourself in harm’s way, so call the authorities if you are concerned for your own safety or that of someone else’s. Many situations can be stopped before they get to the point where assault has already occurred.

The responsibility does not lie solely with the potential victim to be safe and watch their own back; it lies within all of us to look out for one another.

We should quit relying on the individual to handle a bad situation, because it isn’t always that simple. The more people willing to be that bystander and step up and speak out, the better. Only then can we change the climate on campus from one of fear to one of empowerment.