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We have all most likely seen or heard of the statistics surrounding sexual assault on college campuses at one point or another. But how far have we actually come in terms of sexual assault crimes on college campuses and the available resources supporting those who have been assaulted? An article written by UR student Penny Vlagopoulos in a 1991 issue of the Campus Times helped shed some light on these issues.

“One of every four women will be sexually assaulted on a college campus, and 85 percent of the time the victim is assaulted by fellow students,” Vlagopoulos wrote.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these numbers have not really changed, but the awareness surrounding sexual assault on college campuses has.

Unlike many other universities, UR has addressed sexual assault on campus through informative University Health Service (UHS) publications and accessible programs such as “Red Light Green Light,” which runs during Orientation in August, and the Sex & Chocolate Fair held by UHS. Additionally, UR has a system through which University community members can report rape or sexual assault to Security or the Rape Crisis Service Hotline, which is advertised on the back of almost every bathroom stall.

Reslife, UHS and the University Counseling Center also work together to provide victims with plenty of support through counseling, medical and other relevant resources. We are also able to access information that wasn’t available 20 years ago.
Vlagopoulos also mentions the confusion over the definition of consent.

“Men are genuinely confused when their dates say they were raped because the women didn’t say no or physically resist,” she wrote.

Due to the many different avenues of education available at UR, the definition of what is considered rape has become more clear, but many women still do not know the specific details concerning consent in the context of rape. According to a 2000 report released by the U.S. Department of Justice, 48.8 percent of female college students who survived incidents that met the legal definition of rape did not consider what happened to them as such.

UR has improved its provision of educational resources and support systems concerning sexual assault on campus since the 1991 article, but there will, of course, always be room for improvement.

Gao is a member of
the class of 2014.

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