Sexual assault too big of a problem on campus

Lindsey Chandler

Classes have only been in session for one month, and already students have received far too many emails regarding reports of sexual assault on campus. The most recent message covering these events rolled into inboxes Thursday morning.

Surely these emails are moved straight to students’ trash bins, because everyone is tired of reading them.

But that doesn’t change the fact that they are still coming in.

Since August 19, there have been five cases reported, according to www.police.appstate.edu.

While the most recent update thankfully claimed that an incident close to the tennis courts on campus did not occur, it is still chilling to think that it had to be investigated in the first place.

Let’s think about this for a second. All of these reports represent only a small percentage of sexual assaults that occur on this campus, which in itself is only a miniscule percentage of the United States population.

Every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. Of these assaults, only sixty percent are reported, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN.

Statistics on the RAINN website also claim that only three percent of assaulters will spend time in jail.

Let that sink in. These crimes are happening right on our campus. Our Appalachian home. We tout an “Appalachian family,” but are we really acting like one?

The increase in crime alert emails may only signal an increase in reports, but the sad fact is that this only means that we are shedding light on these issues. What are we really doing to prevent them?

We are telling students to be safe. We are telling them to avoid putting themselves in dangerous situations. We are teaching them how to avoid being assaulted rather than teaching that we should not assault at all.

There is absolutely no situation in which assault is acceptable. We can only change the problem if we change its source: the assaulters. Teaching people to protect themselves will not help if we are not teaching that sexual assault is unacceptable to begin with.

Sexual assault is more than a crime. It can destroy lives. There is no getting around that. We should not have to continually enforce crime prevention on a campus that holds claim to an “Appalachian family.”

We should feel called to protect each other, but even more than that, we should be called to be decent to one another and never engage in assault of any kind. Ever.

Chandler, a senior Spanish and psychology major from Cary, is a copy editor.