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VSU can’t prevent sexual assault without the students

Written by Erin Martin, Staff Writer

From Valdosta State’s most recent statistics, in 2013, students reported six attempted sexual assaults; one reported assault, and seven rapes. The rape reports have decreased by half since 2011, but attempted sexual assaults are up; there were none in 2011. The question often arises if universities are doing enough to protect college students from sexual misconduct.

The yellow emergency posts spread around campus are designed with an option for an emergency call button or the emergency phones. All of these posts have bird’s eye view cameras on them and are viewed in the VPD office.

The VSU Student Code of Conduct is straight forward in its mission to prevent assaults and explains the consequences the assaulter will face as well as the rights of the victim. There’s also a medical amnesty guide for students after any type of sexual harassment. This guide states that their purpose is to send a clear message to students that their health and safety is of primary importance and the consideration of their welfare and that of others should not be hindered for fear of sanctions through the university office responsible for student conduct.

Last spring the university joined the national “It’s On Us” movement for sexual assault awareness in April. When students signed the pledge, it was a promise that they would be a part of the solution to keep people safe from assaults and never be a bystander. The pledge wants to make the community responsible for the solution so that sexual violence will end.

“There aren’t enough of the safety posts on campus they all seem to be in weird locations. When I push the button, would VPD be there?” said Khadijah Wright, senior communications major.

“I already don’t feel safe on campus with all of the robberies in the past year, even more being on campus at night alone. I never see the police just walking around campus; they don’t have a real presence.” said Briauna Herrien, senior marketing major.

The website also mentions that certain organizations are offering prevention programs. VSU police, The Haven, and the VSU Counseling Center are all partners working against sexual assault. So there are plenty of outlets for coping and making sure that you are protected after an incident.

The point is that you can’t prevent sexual assault from happening. No pamphlet and seminar can stop a malicious person from being cruel and doing something that they want to do. What we can do, as students is make sure that we inform ourselves. People have to be aware of their surroundings and know the signs of an assaulter when around one.

For more information on preventing sexual assault, you can visit the Office of Health Promotions website. More important resources:
The Haven: 229.244.4477.
VSU Police: 229.333.7816.
VSU Counseling Center: 229.333.5940. or 229.259.5555.

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