Western Courier

Sexual assault remains prominent on campuses

Isaiah Herard, News Editor

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Nearly every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. An alarming number of sexual assaults occur on college campuses.

 Sexual violence is prominent in today’s culture. There are often violent rape scenes on major TV sitcoms that enforce rape culture, including the daily stories of sexual assaults on college campuses. President of the United States Donald Trump has also been publicly accused of sexually assaulting more than 15 women and was recorded boasting the fact he grabs women in their vaginal area without consent.

 Western Illinois University is not exempt from the sexual assault epidemic plaguing the U.S. and their surrounding college campuses; however, university President Jack Thomas ensures his administration are going above and beyond to enforce preventative legislation.

 “While Western Illinois University has had sexual assault and anti-harassment policies in place for many years, we were not doing enough, taking a strong enough stand, to tell perpetrators of assault and other acts of sexual misconduct that we will not tolerate these offenses,” said Thomas during his Take Back the Night proclamation. While safety tips and resources certainly have a place and must be promoted, colleges and their administrators, faculty and staff must take a stronger stance against the perpetrators of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct.”

 According to the National Institute of Justice, nearly 3 percent of all college women were victims of either completed or attempted sexual assault throughout an academic year. The mere 3 percent translates to 30 sexual crimes for every 1,000 women students.

 Like victims of other violent crimes such as murder and domestic violence, victims of sexual assault come from diverse demographics. Age, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender specifications are irrelevant. According to the National Institute of Justice, 3.7 million women a year experience unwanted sexual activity, and each year an estimated 300,000 women are sexually assaulted-a sexual assault occurs every 1.3 minutes in the U.S.

 While majority of sexual assault victims are violated by persons they know, victims are often sexually assaulted by a spouse, partner, date, acquaintance or a stranger.

 According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.

 Although the rates of sexual crimes are alarming across the country and Thomas recognizes sexual assault as a significant problem on Western’s campus, Lindsey May, Lieutenant of Macomb’s Police Department said the sexual crime rate is inconsistent and barely occurs.

 “Meth is the most prominent here in Macomb,” May said. “We had operation ICE and have been busting meth more frequently. “As for sexual assault, we get some here and there and the problem disappears and reappears again. I don’t encounter sexual assault as often.”

 To follow the mandates of the Violence Against Women Act, Western approved new legislation that enforces laws prohibiting sexual misconduct. The Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy focuses on prohibiting sexual discrimination which includes sexual assault/rape, sexual harassment and stalking.

 “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure our campus, our community and our society as a whole is safe,” said Thomas in his proclamation. “People need to speak up when they see, or hear about, sexual misconduct being committed. We all need to be apart of the solution.”

 People who have been sexually assaulted or are experiencing sexual harassment can contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949 or Western’s Title IX coordinator at (309) 298-1977 or Title IX@wiu.edu.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Sexual assault remains prominent on campuses