Couched in the words “alleged” and “reported” in a Jan. 13 article about the rape in West Quad are distrust and distance from the incident. It’s easier to acknowledge the need for more campus security and campus lighting, but it’s far more difficult to admit that students commit rape. We certainly need to be aware of our fellow students as we walk through campus late at night, but we also need to instruct our fellow students that rape is unacceptable, violent and evil. We need to prevent rape, and that requires action.
Around campus, several campaigns are helping build knowledge, awareness and activism around the prevention of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center serves as an advocate for students who’ve survived sexual assault and as a mode of education. By engaging men and women, survivors and allies, SAPAC works to dispel myths about sexual assault and edify the campus about how we can prevent rape.
We, as a campus, need to recognize that consent may be “sexy,” but more importantly, it is required. We, as students, need to send the message to each other that rape will not be tolerated on our campus and that the human rights of each person must not be violated. We, as a society, need to end our practice of victim-blaming and instead focus on supporting those who survive sexual assault. If we are to prevent rape, we must recognize that sexual assault isn’t just a women’s issue — it’s something that we must all address.