How OSU Is Making Strides In Addressing Sexual Assault On Campus
The end of April typically signifies the approach of longer days and warmer weather.
However, before we finish finals and race off to our summer plans, college students are examining the topic of National Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Sexual assault is still a hard topic to discuss regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status, but it especially is in the vacuum of college campuses.
After the catastrophe that was the Rolling Stone rape case, the dialogue about campus rape has become more strained in the media and has set the clock back on how victims' stories are treated in the public eye.
All of this is because a reporter and news outlet did not do their due diligence in favor of releasing a sensationalist story, and in doing so have added to the negative connotation that often comes with sexual assault stories in the media.
However, because issues of sexual assault are still prevalent, an Ohio State women's organization is taking a stand for furthered awareness and making the case to hear the stories of survivors.
Her Campus Ohio State, a women's student organization, is hosting a screening of "The Hunting Ground" to help raise awareness about sexual assault and its effect on college culture.
"The Hunting Ground" is a searing look at the nature of sexual assault on college campuses as well as the familial and social tolls on victims who choose to report their attacks.
Why does this matter that Her Campus OSU is showing it? Because Ohio State is one of the largest and most notorious universities in the US, with a rigorous sports culture surrounding it. As fun as Ohio State is, its social environment can also be tumultuous.
As a student, I have observed the hysteria that ensues throughout the area after a game or just on a weekend night.
After one of our Big 10 games, there were people everywhere who were drunk and belligerent. I was driving down High Street in a locked car and at least 10 drunk men tried to pry my car doors open for a "ride."
Can you imagine how it was for women actually walking down the street? The next day, OSU reported approximately three sexual assaults, and I wonder how many more unwanted encounters probably went untold.
We often brush off these incidents as being in the moment, but has our society not come further when handling pandemonium than the raping and pillaging habits of archaic armies? I am not claiming the sports culture is completely to blame for this hyper violence, but I am saying it does little to discourage it.
In 2014, OSU students reported approximately 25 sexual assaults. Out of 60,000 plus students, this appears to be a minuscule amount.
However, the point is not that there is a small amount of assaults, but that there is a vast number that go unreported. Sexual assaults, especially at large universities, often go unreported because of the lack of justice taken to help victims.
Frankly, before even taken to the police, sexual assault cases often are taken to a university court to be judged for validity.
All too often, these victims feel pressure to recant their statements or the perpetrator is let off with a mild warning.
The fact is, the sexual assault justice system is flawed.
Her Campus Ohio State is not only screening of "The Hunting Ground," but is doing so with a non-profit movie theater, too.
Yet again, many people may not see this as a big deal, but the topic of sexual assault is not a popular subject on college campuses. Everyone wants to drink, let loose and escape the reality of classes and responsibilities for a few hours.
This topic is still a stigmatized subject, as so many have different beliefs about what constitutes sexual assault, if you were "asking for it" and how it happened. The only aspect that actually matters is that if the contact was unwanted, it was wrong — end of story.
By sponsoring a showing of this film, HC OSU is spreading awareness about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses in a different way.
There are articles written and shared on the topic and lectures given, but a visual of how the college culture about sexual assault gives students a connection to everyone going through this struggle.
The fact that a women's organization is facilitating conversation around the topic shows not only gravitas, but also that college women want to have more dialogue about sexual assault awareness.
We know that it is happening, but the public needs more truthful information about why and how sexual assault issues keep occurring on college campuses.
However, an illumination of the justice system surrounding sexual assault cases on campuses is not only needed, but should be required.
It is 2015, and by ignoring this issue, we hurt society as a whole and leave an ever-present gap between where we are as an American culture and where we could be.