by Paige Calabrese ’18
April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an entire month dedicated to calling attention to sexual violence and educating the public about statistics, prevention, and resources in an effort to combat stereotypes and reduce violence.
This month also plays an important role in empowering survivors and helping them heal, as many survivors of sexual assault and abuse often experience feelings of guilt, and shame.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center eight out of 10 rape cases involve an assailant who was known to the victim, and—arguably the most disturbing statistic—over 90 percent of people who are sexually assaulted on university campuses do not report their assaults.
Although sexual violence is already the lowest reported crime in the United States, the rate of reporting is even lower on college campuses. There are a variety of reasons that a survivor may choose not to report his or her assault, including not seeing the assault as a reportable offense at all.
As a college campus, we need to focus our efforts not only on preventing assault from happening and holding assailants accountable, but also changing the way we as a community perceive assault. According to the Providence College Department of Public Safety’s crime statistics for 2016, there were zero reported instances of forced touching or fondling, and four reported rapes.
On our campus, the national statistic would equate to about one out of four women and one out of six men experiencing sexual assault during their time at Providence College. We need to make sure we are providing a safe environment for victims to come forward.
This month, do what you can to educate yourself about sexual violence, how you can help prevent it, and how you can support survivors in your life; we are all Friars, so it is up to all of us.
To report sexual misconduct, contact the Department of Public Safety, the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Coordinator, or the VASE (Victim Advocacy, Support, and Education) Coordinator.
For confidential resources, contact the Personal Counseling Center, Office of the Chaplain, Student Health Center, or VASE.