Sexual assault on campuses cannot be ignored

Amanda+Guillen%2C+staff+reporter

Diego Burciaga

Amanda Guillen, staff reporter

Amanda Guillen, Staff Reporter

Given that El Paso is considered the safest city in the country by the 2013 Press Ratings from FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, many UTEP students feel very safe when walking around campus.

Although many crimes and incidents that require police services are often reported to campus authorities, some crimes have flown below the radar.

Sexual assault has long been the hidden crime that many campuses fail to address. This is in part the fault of universities not wanting to highlight the increase of sexual assault. But there is also a huge issue in victim’s choosing not to speak up.

Sexual assault, as defined by Princeton, is “a statutory offense that provides that it is a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat.”

According to a report conducted in 2007 by the University of North Carolina, and published on their Dean of Students’ website, about one in four women will be victims of sexual violence during their lifetime. Many of these victims are assaulted by acquaintances or someone they know very well.

In addition, the study reported that fewer than 5 percent of these cases actually get reported to police. This goes to show that sexual violence is a bigger problem than what is portrayed through statistics and crime reports.

The stigma associated with being a victim of sexual violence often stops the individual from coming forward. The embarrassment of being labeled as a victim of sexual assault can be too much for an individual to handle.

Another question is why this issue is being taken so lightly and not being spotlighted across university campuses around the United States.

Maybe it is because highlighting these types of crimes could lead to the universities’ reputations being tarnished, or it could just be that universities do not take these cases seriously.

It has long been a debate of whether these women deserved to be sexually assaulted. Although this is a sick mentality that many have adopted, it is something that should be addressed and taken into consideration when reviewing both sides of this issue.

Do women who dress provocatively or that have a flirtatious demeanor deserve the often aggressive repercussions that are forced upon them, eventually leading to the woman being sexually assaulted?

Are they asking for this or should the aggressors be fully responsible for their actions?

Being a female college student, I feel that there should be no excuse when it comes to any type of crime, especially when it comes to sexual violence. No matter how the woman may dress or act, no one deserves to be assaulted.

Violators should be punished and spared no exception when it comes to their crimes, this is something that should be taken seriously. Punishment for sexual violence should be more severe in order to make more of an impact in hopes of lowering the number of sexual violence cases, reported and unreported.

This is often the topic of heated debate, but regardless of any opinion, this is an ongoing problem primarily taking place on college campuses across the U.S. and should be taken more seriously by all parties that are unfortunately involved.

At UTEP, there have been cases of women being assaulted by a suspect known as the “butt-grabber” and he is currently awaiting trial.

Considering how many assaults go unreported, it is unknown how many more women or men have been assaulted by the UTEP “butt-grabber.”

It is important to address that while woman are many times the face of victims that have been affected by sexual violence, men are in no way excluded as victims themselves.

Men many times will not report an assault on them, more so than women because of the stigma.

This is an ongoing problem that has long been kept very secretive, but through proper education and public awareness this issue should be brought to light.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]