Miami and its beaches are year-round destinations for tourists from all over the world, bringing in a record-setting 15.8 million visitors in 2016, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Spring break is a time to officially welcome the end of winter — even though there’s no such thing as winter in South Florida — and kick off the prologue to what this summer’s shenanigans will include.
South Beach is one of America’s most notorious spring break hot spots, which inevitably implies booze and sex: two components that are far from mutually exclusive and when combined can result in serious legal complications.
Florida law states that if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that person cannot give consent.
As with most crimes, rape does not usually occur in situations where there are multiple witnesses, but it’s not unheard of for sexual assault to take place in crowded areas and in broad daylight.
When it comes to sexual assault and sex under the influence, if you see something, say something. FIU has an ongoing sexual assault prevention campaign, “It’s On Us,” but if you can do something in the moment, rather than leave it up to officials to later sift through based on he-said-she-said accounts, which is all too often the case, please help the situation in any way possible.
If you see that someone is drunk and obviously being assaulted or being pressured into sex, do something to help keep that person safe, whether that means pretending to know them to get them away from the person, reporting the situation immediately and agreeing to testify as a witness, getting proof of the act, and/or confronting and handling the situation yourself (legally, of course).
This advice doesn’t stop when spring break ends, either, because sexual assault does not happen solely during this one week every year.
It’s important that we as students, as Miamians — as people — protect each other whenever possible.
It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to make the world a better place and standing up for each other in any circumstance when someone needs our help — especially a circumstance as stigmatized as sexual assault — is one of the ways we can begin to make a difference.
Photo taken from Flickr.