In the face of a culture that ignores sexual assault, the entire campus needs to rise up.
Students need to take a stand not just against unfair judicial policies but also in their interactions with each other. Talking about sexual assault does not have to be scary. Attitudes about consent come into practice every time relationships or hookups come up in conversations with friends, and we can find ways to practice consent in everyday ways.
People don’t just need to learn how to avoid being raped, they also need to learn what rape is and why it is wrong, so they don’t become perpetrators. This is important in the consent education on campus and also in the way students talk to each other.
Bystander intervention at parties is an important aspect of producing a safe college environment. Every student has a responsibility to learn how to be an active bystander, as situations that might lead to sexual assault can occur when least expected.
Students should prevent parties from going overboard so that people can make safe decisions, although parties are no excuse for hurting someone. Guilford College does provide bystander trainings that can help students learn to be active bystanders.
Judicial processes need to prioritize the experiences of the survivors. The very fact that no offenders have been expelled from Guilford speaks to the way that survivors are treated in judicial processes on campus.
For such a serious topic, transparency in the way that the College handles it will make a difference for everyone involved. Also, members of marginalized groups such as students of color, women and LGBTQA students should be offered more support, as they face a higher chance of being sexually assaulted.
Sexual assaults do not just occur in the stories that make the news, and those stories should propel us to do something about the sexual assault that happens all around us. .
Students looking for support or more information can contact Wellness Education Coordinator Kristie Wyatt in the Multicultural Education Department or the student club Sexual Assault Awareness, Support & Advocacy. Their work continues to be integral for changes in the ways that sexual assault is handled on campus.
We on The Guilfordian will hold ourselves and the campus community accountable for how we address sexual assault, and we implore the rest of the College to do the same.