Sexual assault is a problem at Mizzou and this is what you can do about it
From a survivor of sexual assault
Consent. A two syllable word that has a simple meaning, yet some people cannot grasp what exactly it means. According to dictionary.com, consent means “to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield.”
Consent to sex can be a little more confusing to some because some people don’t understand that not saying anything doesn’t mean “access granted.” You can’t touch anyone in a sexual way, or really any way at all, without their permission.
It’s not a secret that sexual assault is a huge problem on college campuses across the world.
According to the University of Missouri’s Climate Survey from 2015, “30.8 percent of MU senior female undergraduate student respondents reported being victims of nonconsensual sexual contact (ranging from unwanted kissing to assault) involving physical force or incapacitation since they entered MU.
“5.9 percent of male undergraduate student respondents reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation since they entered MU.”
It’s seriously disgusting that of the 3,464 undergraduate students that participated in the survey, 30.8 percent of females and 5.9 percent of males admitted to being sexually assaulted since they joined Mizzou.
But we need to take into consideration that only 12.4 percent of undergrad students took the survey. So it really happens to a lot more of your peers than you think.
I know that phrase is so overused, but it is so true. I, myself, am a survivor of a sexual assault– a rape. And although it happened to me before I came to college, it’s still something I live with every day. It’s difficult for me to hear about other people who are assaulted and how they have to live each day in fear of running into their attacker again.
Since this is such a major issue, it’s important to know what to do if someone tells you that they have fallen victim to this crime. Make sure you believe them and trust what they’re saying. False reports do happen, but it’s not under your discretion to decide if this person is being honest or not. Just offer support and let them know that you’re there for them.
Tell them that you’ll be there to help them every step of the way. Encourage them to talk to someone, although they might not want to, or be able to, right away.
Just tell them that you’ll do whatever they need and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask you for help. Remind them that they are loved and valued. Remind them this as often as you can. And to make the world a little better of a place, be aware of what you’re saying.
It’s not funny to make a joke about or make light of rape, “roofies”, or assault at all. You never know who’s going to hear and I know that it can really trigger some people– whether they’re someone that went through it or if they’re close to someone who went through it.
Many men and women that are assaulted have some mental health issues following the event. I was depressed for about a year after it happened to me, I had to go on medication for it. About four months ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD. The past still affects me every single day. It’s something that I think about every single day, even four years later. Some days I have panic attacks. Most days are better than others.
If this is something that has happened to you or you know someone who has gone through it, there are tons of resources to utilize.
Mizzou has the RSVP center, complete with counseling and advocacy services. It is of utmost importance to get the help that you need in order to feel like yourself again. Life will be different but it is still worth living.