By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor
According to RAINN, every 88 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. They have also reported that sexual assault cases have decreased in half since 1993, although it is still an evil that exists today. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I am glad people are speaking up for victims. Men and women of all ages can be victims of sexual assault, children as well. Every 8 minutes a child is a victim of sexual assault.
Sexual assault can happen in many forms besides rape. A lot of students don’t even know what all is considered as sexual assault. I sat down with Police Chief, Jose Banales to discuss sexual assault. When asked what is considered sexual assault, he answered by saying any kind of sexual conduct against someone without their consent is sexual assault. I then asked Chief Banales if there was any kind of interconnection between stalking and dating violence. He said that there was, because the power and control people gain from it. If you are experiencing this, please let law enforcement know, before things escalate. Sexual assault can start off as stalking, unwanted physical contact, and even unwanted sexual communication that is verbal. There’s so many types of scenarios and each one is wrong and can lead to negative long term effects.
It’s not a secret that sexual assault happens on college campuses. While attending college, one in five women and one in sixteen men is assaulted. For every sexual assault scenario, you can interchange genders. Women are capable of sexually assaulting women and men, and men are capable of sexually assaulting women and men. In case you didn’t know, Jeffrey Dahmer drugged his male victims and assaulted them. Some survived to tell their stories. I asked my male twitter followers if their parents warned them that they could be sexual assault victims. 61% reported no, and 39% said yes. I agree it’s more common among women, but it still happens. The topic of men being victims is a stigma because “why can’t men just fight them off?” or “what guy would say he was raped? Men love sex.” People make ignorant comments like this when they hear men are victims of sexual assault. According to NSVRC, One in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
Drinking is inevitable at college parties. There’s no way a woman should feel ashamed for wanting to drink while in social settings. It’s sad that college students must watch over their drink out of fear when at a party. I have personally had classmates tell me they have been drugged while out with their friends. If you’re truly oblivious to why someone would want to spike a girl’s drink, look up date rape. I wish I could say I’m protective of my drink just because I don’t like sharing them, but it is because of this, and the fact that it’s happened to girls I met in San Marcos just makes it much scarier.
I recently had a classmate in Dr. Nolan’s share a story with me about the time someone drugged her beer at a pool party. She explained she was always cautious of watching her drinks, but let her guard down because she was with her roommates and others she thought she could trust. Unfortunately, one of the guys at the hot tub slipped a pill into her drink. He took her to his car in the parking lot outside the pool area. She said she didn’t drink enough to fully pass out but her memories that felt like blinks of an eye, were really hours of being with that monster. One of the worst parts about it was that her roommates never tried to find her, and that they told her it wasn’t a big deal. Then when she asked for time off work to recover from her trauma her boss didn’t believe her, which resulted in her being fired. There’s so much that affects sexual assault victims. Relationships, workplace, and much more emotionally.
I’ve witnessed men aggressively going off on women for not taking them home with them because “they were nice to them.” It’s very uncomfortable and sometimes scary being nice to someone who is abrasive when approaching you in a social setting, so can you imagine telling a person like this you’re not interested? Men, and yes women too should not put people in situations like this ever. Violence like this can lead to sexual assault.
Any kind of sexual conduct should be 100% consensual from both parties. If you’re not sure if it is, ask. If the answer is no leave that person alone. It’s that simple. If you were a victim of sexual assault, report it. Chief Banales advised victims to always report it to law enforcement first, and do not try to carry the weight of the trauma alone. Also, you can contact the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center at 512-396-4357. They can get you help with counseling. Texas State Students, visit our school’s sexual assault resource page for more information concerning filing a report to UPD, San Marcos PD, and a formal complaint through the title IX office. Be sure to also take advantage of bobcat bobbies, Guardian app, and Krav Maga courses for self-defense. If you’d like one on one time to chat with an officer, go to Coffee with Cops on April 26th, from 1-3pm. It will take place on the 2nd floor of LBJ in hub #1 and 2. To all sexual assault victims, you are strong for being here today, because you being here takes away the power and control from offenders.
Featured illustration by Allison Johnson.