I think we can all agree that transitioning to college is a scary thing in and of itself. We may be moving states, cities or staying home and trying to make a new community for ourselves rooted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. All these things in consideration, college also comes with more risks to students on campus.
Sexual assault is a real and scary thing that sadly becomes more and more relevant to men and women’s lives as they enter college.
When something like this happens, it leaves a memory embedded in one’s mind. Depending on the severity of the event, it can also lead to triggers, such as a simple touch, taking a victim right back to the mental state of when the sexual assault occurred.
As a whole, the stigma, or the mark of disgrace associated with a sexual assault, is sickening to hear. We are making the process and decision to report so much more tasking to victims. When one feels like all that will come from reporting is a systematic response of pity and looks of despair, the likelihood they will go through with reporting decreases exponentially.
To make victims feel safer and more valued, we as a university need to create a culture of caring.
Rather than pitying responses, we need to understand that these victims have most likely lost an abundance of respect for themselves, as well as a loss of self worth. Victims are not defined by what has happened to them, so to treat them as such is a great injustice.
We have the support and power to make a change. So, if not now, when?