It’s our first time away from home, experiencing independence, meeting new people, and doing new things. It may be cliche, but it holds true, college is some of the greatest years of our life. Getting an education, while having new and lasting social experiences, bodes special memories that should be cherished and enjoyed, especially because we worked so hard all these years to make it to this point!
But why, in college, is there such a threat that all the excitement can be interrupted by sexual violence?
One in five women in college experience sexual assault, and those are only the ones that are reporting it. Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 310 are reported. This means 2 out of 3 go unreported.
Only 20% of college-aged women report their sexual assault. 90% of campus sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators that the survivor knows and 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, technology-facilitated, verbal, or other forms of controlling abuse.
Campus culture can be intimidating. Everyone is trying to fit in, and get ahead at the same time. College campuses, especially larger institutions, can produce an expectation of partying that fosters the development of sexualized peer cultures organized around status. Cultural expectations that partiers drink heavily and trust party-mates become problematic when combined with the expectation that women should be nice and defer to men. When intoxicated, women become more vulnerable to sexual assault. Unfortunately, rather than criticizing men’s behavior, victims are usually blamed for the outcome. This, coupled with exaggerated peer pressure and lack of public safety in and around college towns, has likely contributed to the alarming numbers of sexual assault and harrassment against college-aged women.
We come to college to learn about ourselves, make new friends, find what we are passionate about, and figure out the roadmap to our future. We should join sororities, find clubs we are interested in, meet our favorite professors, excel in our studies, and experience all that is good in these years.
We should pursue our dreams and goals, without having to watch our back when walking home from the library late at night or wondering what’s in the drink that the guy just gave us. This is exactly why so many of us have joined the SafeUP community.
Why did I join SafeUP? When there’s institutional flaws that perpetuate the threat of sexual assault, women have to take it upon themselves to support women. We need to hear, listen, and support each other, when no one else will. We need to acknowledge how very real sexual assault is in college, and what we can do to support each other when our demands are not met.
SafeUP puts women in control. We are a community of women seeking to empower women. Never walk alone, anywhere or anytime. There is always someone there for you, there is always someone to listen to you, and there is always someone that wants to help you.
We are unstoppable together. Enjoy college just as you should, and pursue your dreams with ultimate fearlessness!
Join me in this mission and change the future of college culture, download SafeUP now
Learn more about about the SafeUP Ambassador Program and how you can make your campus safer here