The Daily Illini

Sexual assault education across genders

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Sexual assaults on college campuses across the United States happen more frequently than some like to admit. It’s not a phenomenon people should or can address as inevitable; assaults are a despicable hindrance to the safe and inclusive atmospheres universities and academic institutions hope to provide.

Sexual assault education and prevention is important no matter the gender, but sexual assault education is mainly targeted toward women and it frequently seems to neglect men.

Events like yesterday’s “Supporting Male Survivors,” held by the Women’s Resources Center, and Friday’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” where male students wear red heels and walk a mile around the Quad, are finally providing the education men need. Supporting Male Survivors shines a light on the underrepresented group of male survivors of sexual assault, while Walk a Mile in Her Shoes draws men’s attention to the effects of male violence against women.

In today’s society, the assumption remains that sexual assault victims are solely young adult women. However, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 2.78 million men in the U.S. have gone through some form of sexual assault or rape as well. Further, only about 60 percent of males feel as if they would be believed if they accused someone of sexual assault, whereas 80 percent of women feel they would be believed.

While information regarding male sexual assault is more limited, the problems behind sexual assaults remain across genders, races and society as a whole, and universal education is needed to stop these crimes.

Main cornerstones of sexual assault education involve bystander intervention when you see suspicious situations and how to handle a potential assault or defend yourself from one. These are tools that everyone needs in order to combat sexual assault. For any gender, education about sexual assaults and support should be prevalent on a campus like the University.

On college campuses in the U.S., the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that 80 percent of rapes and sexual assaults against students went unreported based upon a variety of factors: fear of reprisal, not wanting to get the suspect in trouble, personal matters or believing that the incident was not worth reporting. These numbers could drastically decrease if education about the topic was increased for both genders.

Demonstrating universal support for any type of victim is crucial in today’s society, and we applaud efforts by campus organizations like the Women’s Resources Center in trying to raise awareness about sexual assault for everyone.

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