I remember freshman year taking an online quiz and seminar on sexual assault. Then, we were all corralled into the auditorium where there were skits about sexual assault and supposed to laugh at the scenarios presented. This is where I came to realize that sexual assault isn't taken seriously at college.
Going through my Title IX case after my own assault further solidified that. Every girl that reached out to me after I came out in the paper about my case had the same story. They were all done wrong by the college. They told horror stories of being isolated and targeted on campus by both members of the administration and their peers, yet the college did nothing. Again, it was the same story with the same ending every time: alleged assailant found not at fault.
During my transfer to my new college, I was disappointed to discover the same circumstances. We had online courses where we were quizzed on sexual assault statistics and what to do in a situation when we are just a "bystander." This program had the ability to just skip through the videos and educational modules and just go straight to the quiz. You needed at least a 75% to end the module. This is a joke. I can get 75% on a multiple choice calculus exam, and I'm definitely not a math person. So, this was the first flaw. But how do we fix it?
I believe it begins with examples of justice. People actually getting suspended and expelled for these cases. Actual real consequences. In all of these cases, I know the difficulty with legalities, people using "fake claims," which leads me to this side-note: I think people who believe others fake rape allegations are the worst kind of people. Why would a person come forward and go through the retelling of their trauma, getting grilled for what happened to them and re-live all of that pain if it wasn't true?
Coming to a new school and seeing the culture around sexual assault was the exact same as my last school was like living a horror movie. When you hear someone in your orientation group say, "what is date rape anyway?" and then the rest of your group laughs, it can be discouraging. Not to mention the lack of attendance at a module about SA and date rape. There are no consequences for not taking things seriously. Maybe if coaches would bench players for not showing up to required modules or when they hear inappropriate language in the huddle and locker room, they should punish individuals for this behavior.
It's sad, really. I wish people would take things to heart and understand that these things are serious for everyone. Someone came up to me at a party and just started dancing on me, no questions. They groped me and grabbed me from behind. I was attempting to get away, while my friends were trying to pull me away. This was unacceptable. I need to give consent for you to touch my body! My friends should not have to intervene to help me escape you.
These courses being taught are not effective. There needs to be change implemented. But again, how can we do this? It's not a straight answer. Maybe if it was taken seriously and people would be held accountable, there would be change. There needs to be real consequences because this is a real problem happening to real people. This isn't a joke, this isn't something that people lie about. We need to start believing survivors and giving consequences to those who need to be held accountable.
These modules are not taken seriously. People roll their eyes and get annoyed that they have to complete this to participate in school. I understand the administration is trying, but they aren't succeeding. The modules are archaic and use cringe-worthy attempts at being current. We don't relate to these. Instead, we laugh about them.
My opinion? Eradicate these modules and don't make humorous "educational" skits about trauma. Figure it out. Teach people that these things are real and impact real people. Stop pretending it's all on-screen. Show up and be strong. Help and love those around you. Do what you would want someone to do for you.
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