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“For every 1,000 women attending college or university, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year.” This alarming report posted on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) website further went on to claim that less than 5% of these rape cases were reported to law enforcement.
Amidst the various forms of social injustices plaguing our communities, sexual violence proves to be an ever-present threat. With recent sexual assault scandals at Baylor University, people asked if I would reconsider my choice to attend. Truth is, Baylor is not the first or the last campus to experience cases of rape and irresponsible debauchery. While NSVRC.org reports that freshman and sophomores are at a greater risk of sexual assault, I can confidently say as a freshman girl at Baylor University, I am not afraid.
During my first week of collegiate life, the It’s On Us initiative informed students of necessary precautions to prevent interpersonal violence. While the list is exhaustive, I took note of precautions. And honestly, most of them seemed like common sense- don’t drink the punch, don’t go to parties alone, always let people know where you are… Having that sense of knowing what is out there and what form or shape sexual abuse may take gives me confidence to know where to venture- or not to venture- throughout my college years.
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network’s (RAINN) website states, “College campuses can give you a sense of security—a feeling that everyone knows each other and watches out for one another. There are perpetrators who take advantage of this feeling of safety and security to commit acts of sexual violence.”
No one ever intends to be a victim of sexual harassment or rape. A side less discussed in sexual assault forums is the responsibility of the victims. While it proves critical as a bystander to intervene in situations where someone is physically uncomfortable, it proves equally important for girls to take precautionary measures for themselves. As a girl, I understand I am physically incapable of defending myself against a larger and stronger man. Being so, I will avoid putting myself in threatening situations at all costs.
All in all, girls need to hold themselves to a higher standard. While it may be difficult to say no to drinking or avoiding certain parties, it is doable. I can attest by personal experience. Keep in mind the potential consequences and use that as motivation to make wiser choices. Always be aware. People will take advantage if given the opportunity; eliminate that chance.
IT’SONUS.org’s mission statement centralizes on: “inviting everyone to step up and realize that the solution begins with us… sexual assault is not only a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but a societal problem in which all of us have a role to play …Raising awareness. Holding ourselves and each other accountable. Looking out for someone who cannot consent. IT’S ON US. All of us.”
More importantly, it’s on YOU.
Lauren Robertson is a recent graduate of San Antonio Christian School. She served as Editor-in- Chief of her school’s magazine, the Revelation. She is currently attending Baylor University where she is continuing her passion for medicine, business, and writing.