Trigger warning: discussion on rape and sexual assault
Auburn University has a problem.
A sexual assault and rape problem. And as of now, the Auburn administration is actively contributing to rape culture.
When I attended Camp War Eagle, the girls were taken aside and shown the safety buttons placed along campus where the speaker told us, we could use these buttons to call for a shuttle if we were in danger — alluding to male violence. There are two problems with this approach.
First, the speaker was not direct. Instead of explaining the buttons are to protect the feminine-presenting students from male violence, the problem was alluded to, diminishing the severity of sexual assault. Secondly, the male students were not considered. The male students should have been acknowledged as possible perpetrators or victims.
In addition, all Auburn first-year students were assigned an online module on sexual assault prevention, but an hour-long video course that students can easily mute does almost nothing for prevention. The scenarios in the course also failed to include male sexual violence against other men.
While it is true women can also be abusive, female violence is not as pervasive as male violence. When men are victims of violence, it is typically in the hands of other men, yet male victims report sexual assault and rape less than female victims since they fear being emasculated by their male peers.
Men on this campus commit more acts of violence and many are unaware of the reality of the problem.
Many don't realize 80% of offenders are known to the victim. These people are your teammates, friends and fraternity brothers. It begins with “locker room” talk, then unsolicited “dick pics” until escalating to full-blown rape.
I urge my male peers to hold each other accountable and not shame or blame victims of sexual violence. This includes not coercing pledges to inappropriate hazing rituals they do not consent to. It begins and ends with you.
On the second week of this month two instances of violence were reported. On Friday, Sept. 8, a female student reported rape and physical assault by an acquaintance. Then only two days later, a male student touched a female victim inappropriately and attempted (but failed) to target two other female students.
Today, Sept. 14, another email was sent to students, stating that a woman disclosed to police that she was raped Friday night at a fraternity house.
Only 20% of female student victims (ages 18-24) report sexual violence. Therefore, it is likely there have been more offenses within the span of the semester or even in a single week. Unfortunately, no stats on the reporting rate of sexual violence against male students are available.
I urge the Auburn administration to do more than send emails.
The women on this campus have grown up hearing stories and taking safety precautions. It is time men learn.
Ignorance fuels rape culture. Therefore, as an academic institution, the Auburn administration is responsible for educating the male population on campus.
The school should devote more resources towards educational prevention programs and counseling for sexual assault survivors. Ignoring the problem only exacerbates the possibility for further violence.
More importantly, the offenders who commit heinous crimes should be expelled, not protected through anonymity. Victims deserve to attend class without being retraumatized.
I extend my deepest condolences to anyone who has fallen victim to sexual violence, and I hope you can find the peace you deserve.
Resources for survivors:
334-844-7233 or email@example.com
Rape Counselors of East Alabama
Student Counseling and Psychological Services
National Sexual Assault Hotline
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Dioselin Cruz, freshman in history, is an Opinion columnist for The Auburn Plainsman.