“It’s On Us” to report sexual assault cases

Laquavia Smith/Staff Writer

Approximately 23 percent of females and 5.5 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization that aims to enlighten, protect and provide for victims of sexual assault, rape or abuse and those who witness it, created the national “It’s On Us,” campaign to address sexual assault on college campuses.

A few issues “It’s On Us” aims to solve or regulate includes the stigma of a rape victim being a woman. A crime can not, in any way, shape or form, be genderized.

Rape victims and perpetrators can at any time, any place and for whatever reason, be both male and female in no relation to the other.  

The “It’s On Us” campaign here at FIU is consistently contributing to the culture of FIU through events, open discussions, tabling and even speakers. But, aside from our own “It’s On Us” campaign, students and parents nationwide are upset, claiming that numerous universities are downplaying assault as a whole and are practicing the act of not reporting “on-campus” sexual assualts and/or rapes.

According to the Washington Post, incidents that have occurred included a “university fail[ing] to respond effectively to reports of sexual assault involving football players and others.”

“Universities need to stop trying to treat this as a PR problem, and treat it as the civil rights and public safety issue that it is. It’s happening on their campuses, undeniably. There’s no use putting their heads in the sand,” Lisa Maatz, vice president of government relations at the American Association of University Women, said to the Washington Post.

However, legislative action has tried to minimize the attitude universities have towards rape. In 2016, for example, students and parents were able to access for the first time precise data on the volume of rape reports on each campus due to a modification within their disclosure rules.

Colleges were once required to disclose under the federal Clery Act the number of “forcible sex offenses,” reports which cover a variety of crimes including rape.

But, since 2016, these reports are now deciphered based on the precise act and as a separate statistic, along with modifications to the definition of rape:  “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

But what is new is not replacing what is broken. Despite the new changes to regulations, many rapes are still going unreported.

“Politico” did their own investigation stating, “Florida’s colleges and universities report among the lowest rates of on-campus rape in the nation, and relatively few of the state’s higher education institutions are under federal investigations for potentially mishandling sexual violence incidents.”

Despite the positivity in the article, students and victims suggest that the sexual incidents do not correspond accurately to the reports. The article suggests that in order to collect relevant data, campuses need to issue Climate Surveys asking questions regarding rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Florida universities that have participated in these surveys include: University of Florida, University of Miami and University of South Florida. Florida State University is planning to issue a survey as well.

FIU has not participated in the survey, but it would be a great idea to do so. As a community we should play our part in being aware, alert and active in trying to decrease the chances of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse. That means going against the bystander-effect and reporting anything and everything.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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