Though many women and men endure harassment and violence on campus, they are typically hesitant to report it because they are afraid of not being believed or facing punishment. Sexual assault on college campuses is common, according to the federal Department of Education.
To address the topic, FAMU’s Division of Student Affairs is hosting a series of events this month relating to sexual awareness and assault. Shauntavia Clinton, a victim advocate at Florida A&M, hosted an event for students earlier today to learn about the truths and myths of sexual assault. The victim advocate program is offered to all students on campus to ensure that they get whatever aid they need to help regain their well-being.
As reiterated at the sexual awareness event, there are various resources on campus which all students have access to in the event of a sexual assault.
One of the resources offered on campus is Title IX. Students had the opportunity to listen to Kimberly Ceaser, assistant director of the university’s Title IX program, and learn more about what the program offers.
Title IX is a federal equal opportunity program that will not tolerate discrimination based on sex and gender, operated by the recipients of federal financial assistance. Title IX protects students against sexual harassment, including domestic abuse, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misbehavior.
“You can come to the victim advocate, which is myself on campus, and I can assist in the reporting process,” Clinton said. “You can report it to Title IX and the office of conduct.”
About 1 in 5 women on college campuses are sexually assaulted. One in 13 men is sexually assaulted while in college, according to federal statistics. Thirteen percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation, according to Rainn.org.
Out of all the sexual assaults taking place on and off-campus, only about 20% get reported.
The event was filled with fun and impactful games where students learned the truths and myths relating to sexual assault. President of the on-campus organization SAFE (Serving Advocacy for Everyone), Alleyah Gordon, shared information on how her organization helps students who are victims of sexual assault.
“So far, we just started, but we are just making sure we create a safe space,” Gordon said. “You know, other organizations do big events, but we make sure we limit the amount of people that can come to the event to make sure there is inclusion. We make sure people feel protected and safe when coming, no matter where they are going.”
Sexual assault is a form of power and control. Do not be hesitant to share your experiences. It is natural to be worried since you don’t know what will happen once you speak up, but that is why there are services on campus available.