History, Multi-Ethnic Studies major; Gender Studies minor
Communication major; Gender Studies minor
On September 5th, a very important and serious conversation was started about sexual assault on college campuses. As Healthy Relationship Peer Educators, we know the weight of this topic, and how it affects students’ lives.
Risk reduction is everywhere. Don’t drink too much, or at all. Don’t go out alone, especially not at night. Don’t wear “risky” clothing. There are so many actions and behaviors that women have been doing in order to stay safe, and yet the numbers haven’t been falling. People are still being sexually assaulted.
1 in 4 women on a campus will be raped. That means 12.5% of a college campus will be raped, and that isn’t adding in other sex and gender identities. This is an epidemic. The CDC and Department of Justice both state that 90% of women know their attacker. This isn’t the stranger hiding in the dark alley way that is committing the bulk of these attacks. It is the survivor’s friend, family member, partner, classmate, acquaintance.
What’s even more startling is that CDC reports that 94% of men are not perpetrators meaning only 6% of men are committing these attacks. 71% of these men are repeat offenders, often having a long string of victims. The “accidental rape” is a myth. Even with these statistics though, all identities are presented in these categories i.e. gender, sex, race, class, ability, sexuality, etc. People with marginalized identities are often assaulted at a higher rate as well, such as people who are trans*, people of color, people with a disability, etc. This isn’t just a “women’s issue.” Rape and sexual assault affects everyone and all identities.
These numbers are staggering, and it’s a painful and angering truth. The larger picture of rape shows that this is not a single person’s problem. This is a community issue. We are both proud members of the Boise State community. It saddens us to know that individuals have to deal with such risks in order to get an education that everyone should be able to have. All of us on this campus have the power to put an end to rape and sexual assault on our campus. Together, we can create a campus where we all empower each other, and create a space of safety.
Rape culture is culture in which sexual assault and other forms of violence commonly occur, and ideas, attitudes, and media normalize these actions. We as a society normalize these actions by continuing to laugh at rape jokes, making homophobic comments, calling people sluts and whores, and by not believing survivors. As members of Bronco Nation we can make an inclusive campus and Boise community for all. There are several actions that individuals can take in order to help stop sexual assault. The most important thing however, is that we do something as a community to stand up and say that these actions are not okay.
1. Make the 94% visible
2. Believe survivors
3. Question the message music sends
4. Learn about consent and use it
5. Confront others when they use the word “rape”
6. Attend events and trainings about ending violence
7. Don’t sexually assault
Our campus needs to put out the message that rape and sexual assault is not okay. As a community we need to put an end to this issue. With our words and actions we can show perpetrators that we will not accept this anymore. We are challenging you as a community to help one another, to make it our responsibility as a community to end this cycle of violence.
We have faith in you as a community and will hope for a brighter future.