Common sense should be utilized to prevent sexual assaults

Joyce Melendez, Staff Writer

With all the stress college students have to deal with on a daily basis, the last thing they need to worry about is sexual assault.

By now, many people know what happened to Emma Sulkowicz at Columbia University. For those who do not know, she was sexually assaulted (during her sophomore year) and the alleged rapist is still on campus. There have been two other women who have said the same person assaulted them. According to a Time article written by Sulkowicz, she and the two women reported their cases but they were all dismissed.

Now being a senior at Columbia, Sulkowicz is spreading her story with her senior thesis “Mattress Performance” or “Carry That Weight.” Her thesis includes carrying her mattress everywhere she goes on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves, according to The Huffington Post.

While colleges take pride in campus safety, crimes still occur. In 2012, Business Insider made a list of the most dangerous colleges in America.

For Mesa College students, the list may be of interest. Out of the 25 colleges listed, five are in California and may be where individuals plan on transferring to. The five California colleges featured were UC Riverside, CSU Fresno, SDSU, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. The list does not solely focus on sexual assault; it focuses on violent crimes and property crimes. So exactly how safe are college students, particularly, college women?

According to oneinfourusa.org, 5 percent of women on college campuses experience rape or attempted rape every year. There are situations that can be avoided in order to lower the chances of a sexual assault occurring. Heavy, episodic drinking should be avoided since college women are at risk of an assault after they become voluntarily intoxicated. The best way to stay protected is to be in the right frame of mind. While college students, women in particular, should not have to be in fear of an attack occurring, there needs to be an increased awareness in certain situations. The best way to avoid any sort of violent attack is to avoid highly intoxicated individuals. In college, alcohol can easily skew the minds of people and cause major problems.

If a sexual assault does occur, it should be reported as soon as possible. Even if it causes discomfort, reporting an assault can prevent that person from attacking someone else. While sexual assault should be taken seriously at all times, some individuals are incapable of showing compassion toward it, especially if the attack is not immediately reported.

Men and women should not have to be told that rape is not OK. It is never justifiable to take advantage of another human being. But with that being said, individuals should have some common sense and know that alcohol can make them vulnerable.

College can be full of positive experiences, but there is also a dark side. Individuals should not live in fear. Rather than always being cautious, college students need to educate themselves on ways of staying safe while on campus. Also, if you are of age and can consume alcohol, it should be done in moderation. Alcohol consumption should not be taken lightly because it puts many people at risk.

Excessive alcohol consumption is not the only reason why a sexual assault could happen. In situations in which someone can be easily taken advantage of, some individuals capitalize on it. College students should know right from wrong. By all means, enjoy your college life, just be decent to one another and use common sense.

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