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College Campuses Remain Prime Spot For Sexual Assault

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
College Campuses Remain Prime Spot For Sexual Assault

A college campus in our midst makes sexual assault something the Upper Cumberland needs to keep top of mind.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the 23rd year of the observance. The Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center’s Dasha Cross said many may not understand the prevalence on sexual assaults among college students.

“Usually when college freshmen and even sophomores, they kind of refer to those first two years as, like, the danger zone, like, the red period, because that’s when sexual assault is most prevalent, when they’re first getting away from their families and, you know, finally, you know, getting out and trying to spread their wings,” Cross said. “And sometimes people take advantage of that.”

Cross said the changing technological world has also changed sexual assault. Social media apps like Snapchat give individuals the chance to share violent messages and them delete them. People can also pretend to be someone and convince another person to meet, making them vulnerable. Cross said sending photos online can also lead to sexual assault.

“If you’re talking about sending photos and things like that, they can say they’re deleted,” Cross said. “They’re never really gone. And that is definitely a huge problem that just continues to grow.”

Nationwide and here at home, the reporting of assault incidents remains much below the projected rates of occurrence, Cross said. She said people simply do not report incidents for a multitude of reasons.

“Whether they are, you know, not comfortable speaking with law enforcement or they don’t think they’re going to be believed, or someone in their life has told them that, you know, nothing’s ever going to happen with it, or that it wasn’t even sexual assault to begin with,” Cross said. “So not reporting is definitely the biggest roadblock we’ve got when we’re talking about sexual assault.”

Cross said speaking to a trusted individual is key in these situations. And if you are a trusted person in someone’s life, point the victim to counseling for help.

“Just so that you have an outlet to share how you’re feeling and that you say that you can overcome, you know, those complicated things that you feel after having experienced sexual assault,” Cross said. “Or if you think that that’s happened, there’s going to be a lot of things that you’re feeling. So definitely finding somewhere to talk about it, which is definitely going to start that healing process, and then what can.”

Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity or contact that you do not consent to. Assault can happen through physical force or threats of force or if the attacker gave the victim drugs or alcohol as part of the assault. Sexual assault includes rape and sexual coercion. If there has been no clear and freely given consent, it is considered assault.

Cross is a Coordinated Community Response Specialist at the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center.


The post College Campuses Remain Prime Spot For Sexual Assault appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.