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Editorial Board | FIUSM
Last week, students received an email informing them of a sexual assault that took place on Saturday. As part of the Clery Act, all public universities must inform the student body of sexual assaults on campus, much like the University did about the infamous “booty bandit.”
However, the email sent out to students has questionable verbiage. Although the victim and alleged perpetrator knew each other, the email reads:
“FIUPD is asking the FIU community, to as always, please be aware of your surroundings, avoid poorly lit areas while alone, and make sure friends and family know your whereabouts at all times.”
According to FIU’s own victim empowerment program, 8 in 10 victims know their attacker. Yet, instead of warning students of the consequences of committing sexual assault on campus, or reminding students that these crimes are unacceptable, the email makes the victims responsible for their own assault.
The timing of the assault is uncanny, as FIU’s annual Slut Walk took place on Friday, April 3.
Hosted by the National Organization of Women, the walk addresses issues of victim blaming and sexism in sexual assault allegations.
This week, the Women’s Center is hosting Take Back the Night, a program designed to promote sexual assault awareness, prevention and safety. The university has indeed given some students the resources to prevent them from becoming a victim but has done little to teach others on how to not be a criminal.
We look back to the It’s On Us campaign and question why it has remained silent or why it was not referenced within the email. This would have been the ideal opportunity to show the student body how severe this matter is and to remind everyone that FIU does not condone this kind of sexually violent behavior.
All eyes are on the FIU police department and university leadership to see how this sexual assault is handled. Hopefully, FIU will not go down the same path as other universities that mishandled cases and empowered criminals instead of victims.
If the alleged perpetrator is found guilty, the university should prosecute them to the full extent of the law, and not sweep it under the rug like Columbia University, University of Carolina at Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, the University of Toledo and Valparaiso University Law School.
The editorial board promises to follow the case as it develops, and update the university as we get more information.