Addressing sexual assault on campus

Sexual assault is a major issue; both nationwide, and on our own campus.

Just this past Friday, a speak-out was held outside of the Davis Center where students encouraged our University to do more to put an end to sexual assault on campus.

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61 cases of sexual assault have been reported to the Women’s Center in the past year, according to Victim’s Advocate Judy Rickstad. These reported cases are only a fraction of the total number of sexual assaults that occur at UVM.

This number is far too high, and it’s on us as a community to solve this issue. It’s the University’s responsibility to provide education surrounding rape culture, drugs and alcohol and the reporting process.

Yes. CatAlerts are sent out when assaults are reported, but this isn’t enough. Including tips about how to avoid sexual assault isn’t enough. The University needs to focus on prevention and education as well as possible consequences and punishments for those who commit acts of sexual violence.

The fact that there is awareness surrounding sexual assault is a step in the right direction,

and media coverage surrounding the issue certainly opens up a safe space for discussing the issue.

Due to innumerable accounts of sexual assault on campus and CatAlerts that are so frequent they’re often dismissed, students have become desensitized to the issue. It is a stigma of college life but it’s unacceptable to disregard it as the norm.

Faculty and students: we must unite as a University to do more to combat this epidemic, prevent sexual assaults from happening and provide meaningful support for survivors. It’s on us, UVM.