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College…and rape.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten emails from campus police or the local police department of reported sexual assaults, and not until recently did I ever stop and think about how common situations like those are in the world that I live in; college.

College is a world that is short-lived compared to the grand scheme of someone’s entire life, but is said to contain some of best times of our lives. In other words, college is small but mighty and as someone currently living in this world, I can’t help but agree that it is pretty amazing. Just to list a few of the reasons why; I live with my best friends, I have all the freedom in the world, I’m bettering my future with my education, my school is AWESOME, I don’t have the responsibilities of the “real world” just yet, and so on.

And along with all of that comes the infamous college party life, which can make or break someone. You can either go too far with it and flunk out, or you can find a balance that works for you personally. Now don’t get me wrong, I know not everyone who attends college chooses to partake in the party life, but at JMU many people do.

How the party life can also break someone, are the unfortunate and sometimes unthinkable situations we forget can happen. To be more specific, many of us forget about rape, until it happens to us or someone we know. I have never been sexually assaulted or raped, but statistics that were brought to my attention recently have set in the reality that so many young women like me, have. What makes it even more upsetting is that something so altering can happen even during the “best time of our lives.” Which may be naïve, but when I sit back and think about those situations happening to me at any point in my life, especially during a time that is so crucial developmentally, it is devastating.

Here are some of the statistics that hit it home for me when fully recognizing how common rape is in college:

Being a freshman or sophomore in college puts someone at a greater risk for rape (National Institute of Justice, 2008)

There are a higher prevalence of sexual assault seen in sorority members (National Institute of Justice, 2008)

In a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012)

Over 80% of the women who are raped are under the age of 25 years old (911rape)

Being statistically someone at a higher risk of rape because I am female, in college and under the age of 25, my heart truly goes out to those who are part of those statistics.When I step back and think of all those times I’ve seen people out of their element and not in control, all in the name of a good time, I think to myself, is it worth it?

The point I’m trying to make is that we all, especially those in college, need to recognize the problem of rape. Young men and women, including myself, need to be aware of the possibility and do whatever we can to prevent them. I’m not saying live under a rock the rest of our lives and I realize that some things are out of our control, but we all need to take action.

If you see someone, whether acquainted or not, in a sticky situation, notice they are uncomfortable or not in control, do something. Don’t just sit there and assume they’re okay. Walk them home, call them a cab, get them water, simply help them out in any way possible. I don’t want those statistics listed earlier to increase, nor do I wish another person to be a victim of rape, and by helping each other out, prevention, awareness and empathy, that can happen; rape culture can be changed.

 

 

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