Did you know that 11.2% of all students experience sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation? You have children of your own if I'm not mistaken, so how would you feel about sending them to college knowing that too large of a percentage of students are getting assaulted? It is often said that students are safer in dorms than on their own, but what if that’s not always true?
You would think sexual assault would be an issue the government is trying to contain, if not get rid of, but in all honesty, it is overlooked. People of all ages, races, and genders are assaulted, so it is in fact an important issue relating to the general public. My letter to you today is specifically talking about sexual abuse on college campuses. According to the study and statistics from RAINN, students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters at college. Kids turn 18 and they are finally out from under mom and dad’s roof; they want to drink and party, but there are consequences that come with these decisions. All the causes of sexual abuse are related to one another: drinking, using drugs, misconceptions, forcing the other person to do things they don’t want to, and even having consent at first but then is retracted. When something like this happens, it causes the victim to be traumatized for the rest of his or her life. People often end up with a decrease in self-confidence and slip into a world of depression, and in some cases, these women become pregnant with their abuser’s child. Now tell me President, how is that fair? Why should anyone have to suffer through that? These victims may seem very detached from you and me, if I’m being completely honest, but let’s take a moment to consider the fact that these students, these men and women, are parents, children, siblings, and friends.
I have many goals for myself and things that I am determined to accomplish, but in order to do that I need a great education and a ton of support. My parents are afraid to send me off to college because of the headlines flashing all over the internet; rape after rape, murder after murder. It seems like everytime spring break rolls around, more and more college students are found dead in hotel rooms, cars, and even on the beach. I should not be afraid to further my education and do the things I want in life because there are some sick people in the world. Same goes for my parents, they should be able to confidently support me while I’m going through school without having to worry if I’ll be home for the next holiday.
If sexual assault seems to be an occurring offense, then they must make some kind of policy that would knock the percentage down… right? Colleges and universities across the country are required by law to investigate and adjudicate whenever a student makes allegations of sexual misconduct, but sadly, to protect their image, they dismiss the allegations with a slap on the wrist. These procedures vary widely, but commonly schools hold disciplinary hearings that are often made up of teachers and students that act as prosecutors, judges, and juries. This isn’t enough. The safety of the public, the younger portion especially, needs your help. We need laws that crack down on policies and procedures following the allegations regarding sexual misconduct. We need more encouragement for students to speak up when they’ve been assaulted or if they know someone who has. We need harsher punishments for the guilty so that they are soon discouraged. We need you, President.
You are a parent, a sibling, a guardian, a friend, a vital asset to our nation. So please, take it from someone who will be entering the college world herself, sexual abuse should no longer be overlooked. Instead, it should be handled head on and eliminated, one step at a time. Aside from what we as women, men, and students can do, and what parents can do, the issue is in your hands, and I hope you decide to be the president that finally recognizes how big of an issue sexual abuse is becoming.
"Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN." Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.
"An Imperfect Process: How Campuses Deal with Sexual Assault." CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.
"InvestigateWest » Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Culture of Indifference." InvestigateWest. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.