Julia Gomez/Opinion Director
Our university needs to prevent sexual assault on campus and provide more resources to victims.
In 2019, the number of cases of harassment, stalking and sexual offenses reported to the FIU Police Department nearly doubled when compared to 2017 and 2018.
FIUPD received 80 reports of harassment and sexual assault from 2017 to 2019. Including a man who reportedly touched a young girl inappropriately and another case where two men harassed a woman near the Green Library.
The years 2020 and 2021 were not included in the data set because most students were sent home and participated in classes remotely via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, when students returned in Fall, Jahshaun Anglin, a Miami FC Soccer Player, was accused of sexually assaulting a female student in a classroom at the university.
When a janitor walked into the classroom, Anglin left. The janitor accompanied the student to the FIU Police department to write a statement.
A few days after the assault, he played a soccer game at the Riccardo Silva Football Stadium.
“FIU continuously sweeps incidents under the rug that happen on our campus,” wrote Vanessa Rolle in a petition asking FIU to hold Anglin accountable and create a safer space for sexual assault victims.
If FIU truly cares for its students, they need to do more to hold suspects accountable for their actions, not allow them to attack someone viciously then play soccer a few days later.
“The fact that FIU did not cancel this game and make a statement,” Rolle continues. “Along with offering resources to those who may have been triggered by this situation speaks on the university’s true values.”
The woman Anglin assaulted is part of the 20% of college-aged women who report the assault. A whopping 80% of cases go unreported because students feel like their peers and police won’t take them seriously and won’t believe them, according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
That is a huge problem. FIU needs to make sure all of its students are comfortable and feel safe.
A study analyzing men in 2-year colleges and 4-year universities found that male student-athletes and fraternity men are more likely to sexually assault someone than men who aren’t.
“Current research suggests that some men are drawn to certain fraternities where they believe they will be better able to commit sexual violence,” read the report. “Evidence suggests that these fraternities reinforce hostility toward and violence against women.”
A study from 2015 concluded that even though only 3% of students are athletes, 19% of sexual assaults were committed by male athletes.
Men who have committed sexual assaults are more likely to join fraternities and continue attacking women.
Of the 621 men who reported having sexually assaulted another person, 57% of them said they committed sexual assault more than once.
“Colleges need to take action to remove [athletes and frat boys who commit sexual assault] from campus whether through suspension or expulsions,” said Tracie Vitchers, the executive director of It’s On Us. “Because, at the end of the day, suspension and expulsion is a form of rape prevention.”
When students aren’t punished, it puts the students closest to them at even more risk.
Women in sororities and female athletes are among the most likely to be sexually assaulted because of their proximity to fraternity men and male athletes, said Vitchers.
Female students ages 18–24 are also at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted during the first couple of months of their first two semesters, and 26.4% of female and 6.8% of male undergraduates experienced rape and sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.
To change these statistics, FIU needs to give clear and concise instructions on reporting sexual assault. Giving victims this advantage is key to holding offenders accountable and preventing them from hurting other students.
Fortunately, there are ways for students who are victims of sexual assault to get the help they need, even if it isn’t through resources provided by their school.
Students can call the RAINN hotline, which operates 24/7 and provides victims with a place to talk about their mental health. Their phone number is 800–656–4673.
On campus, there are organizations like the Victim Empowerment Program. It provides students with the resources they need to support themselves through the healing process after being sexually assaulted.
Unless we do something, these statistics are only going to get worse. FIU needs to tell these predators they will not continue to get away with assaulting their peers.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community