By, Shaylene Whitmer, Max Heithoff, and Ashlee Maurer
Every year in the United States nearly 25,000 women will become pregnant because of sexual assault. Today we found that the reason only 1 in 5 of those women report their assault is because they felt nothing could be done and the process in reporting is enduring. By writing this article we hope to bring attention to victims of sexual assault by creating awareness, hoping to promote a shorter and simpler reporting process, and ensuring protection to all victims.
Currently in the United States colleges are trying to prevent against all cases of sexual assault. Colleges like ISU are doing this by creating policies, making students more aware, and ensuring protection to all victims. By creating this safe space, they are trying to increase the number of victims that come forward and make the process more accessible to all victims.
Despite the many laws that Congress has put in place that protect victims of sexual assault and prohibits any sexual act that occurs because of the perpetrator threatening a victim and prohibits sexual acts occurring when the victim is inebriated. Although we have laws that are meant to protect against sexual assault, there are many cases where the victim has not received justice.
Federal laws break these crimes down into three categories; first degree felonies are described as perpetrators that plan on doing the crime, second degree felonies are like first degree in the seriousness of crimes but are not as intentional crimes but are unplanned, and lastly, third degree felonies are divided between felonies and misdemeanors which are the least serious of the three. The perpetrators in this category pay a fine rather than serve prison time unlike the first and second-degree felonies who by law, states that they do serve prison time.
In recent news, a prominent case of sexual assault is the Brock Turner case. According to an article published by CNN, the prosecutors in this case recommended 6 years in prison, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in prison with three years’ probation, with Turner ending up only serving three months of his six. Turner is currently trying to appeal his charge to get off the sex offenders list. Despite all the laws and bills put in place to protect victims, cases like this one show the privilege of how our court system has a way of letting some people slide through.
I can’t believe that in 2018 we are still not providing the correct resources and support to people that have been sexually assaulted or have been affected by it, like so many people have. According to rainn.org, which is an anti- sexual violence organization, the United States is facing a percentage of 11.2 of all college students that have experienced rape or sexual assault. That statistic shows that we need better outreach programs and prevention in our colleges and that starts with discussing the problem and providing counseling, better law enforcement officials, and survivor assistance.
While researching we found that the DMACC Sexual Assault reporting process can take almost up to a month for anything to happen to the perpetrator once the victim has made a report. Afterwards,
it may result in the perpetrator being suspended or getting expulsion. This process may be confusing to some since it states the victim needs to talk to the Campus Provost or the Academic Dean, however very few students know where these resources can be found. We urge DMACC to aide in putting up more signs promoting anti-sexual assault and giving information on where to go to make a report and gain support if it happens to them. By doing this, it will result in students feeling safe and protected. Sexual Assault is a traumatic experience that so many people go through in college, and it is up to all colleges to ensure their students are aware of where the resources are that will protect them if it were to happen to them.