Sexual assault survivors need to be heard

Speak up, don’t be afraid. Photo courtesy: Google Images

Eryn Thompson, a third-year public relations major at Florida A&M, was 18 years old when she was sexually assaulted. She said she couldn’t understand why it happened to her.

Thompson said she could never wrap her head around what was happening until it was too late. After the 2017 assault took place, on FAMU’s campus, it changed her life forever.

“It made me feel less of a person,” Thompson said. “Because of it being someone I had just met, I questioned myself a lot afterward as it made me afraid to go out and have drinks or trust men again.”

She decided to get help so it wouldn’t affect her for the rest of her life. When asked about the necessary steps to help women going through this, she said that each participant needed to be held accountable.

“People first and foremost need to raise their children correctly,” Thompson said. “If the guy who did the action isn’t held accountable, then they will continuously do it until someone stands up to them.”

Other students at FAMU have complained about sexual harassment not being brought to the public eye time and time again. According many to students, it is such a serious topic that top officials tend to shy away from it.

Many female students at FAMU said that they had been sexually harassed, and in some cases sexually assaulted, and they said they were always afraid to report the attack because of the backlash they believed they would receive.

While other female students did not want their names being published, they all agreed that sexual assault needs to be brought up more.

According to the federal Department of Education, estimates of sexual assault, which vary based on definitions and methodology, find that between 19 and 27 percent of college women and 6–8 percent of college men are sexually assaulted during their time in college.

When you’re living in a college town, sometimes other students’ names may hold more weight than yours, which often scares people away from shedding light on the truth because they may believe if no one knows them, no one will take their story or accusations seriously.

To prevent sexual assaults from happening, females should always travel in large groups, be aware of their surroundings and go with their gut feeling.

One out of every six females is a victim of an attempted or actual sexual assault.

According to the victims I interviewed, nine times out of 10 if you feel like something is off about a person, you’re right.

In this day and age, it is sad to hear students say they don’t feel like they can report a sexual assault.

Victims of sexual assault deserve to be heard. They deserve peace and strength so that they can stand up for what is right and inspire others to speak up. Because you are a survivor.