Like a broken record, UI continues to remind us it cares about sexual assault

By Isaiah Reynolds, Columnist

Semantic satiation: when something is repeated so often it begins to lose its meaning.

The recent resurfacing of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault cases has caused a spark in the discussion of the normalization of sexual abuse. More and more people are coming forward with their stories in the hopes of drawing attention to the rampant frequency in which these encounters occur.  

However, many of these aggressors, such as R. Kelly, Casey Affleck and President Donald Trump have faced little to no repercussions due to their influence and the established rape culture ingrained in our society.

Much like Hollywood, college campuses have a long history of sweeping sexual assault under the rug.  

“At Illinois, we care,” the infamous and trite selling point of Campus Safety Notices sent every so often whenever a crime is committed on campus., is an example of semantic satiation.

According to the University  of Illinois Police Department Daily Crime Log, 28 cases of rape and 13 cases of sexual assault or abuse have been reported within the last 60 days, not including incidents that have gone unreported. Since the beginning of this academic year, only five of these cases have prompted Campus Safety Notices to be sent through the University database to reach students.   

The National Sexual Violence Center reports that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will experience sexual assault. A survey conducted by the American Association of Universities revealed that 1 in 4 transgender students have experienced sexual abuse since they enrolled in college. 

It’s concerning the University isn’t alerting students of many of these cases, which raises questions on how effective preventative measures implemented by the University are.

Mandatory programs such as FYCARE and Haven attempt to emphasize the necessity of consent. However, there’s not solid repercussions for not attending. The University needs to identify the failures of these programs and make adjustments in order to ensure a decrease in sexual misconduct.

College culture feeds into the objectification  and oppression of women, enforcing an ever-present misogynistic ideology.

Additionally, those who commit crimes against women should be treated as criminals.

These aggressors are not promising, scholarly “Stanford swimmers,” but are assaulters and rapists,.

There are a couple of steps the University can take to show it really does care.

The University can effectively help survivors by further ensuring a safe and confidential method of reporting these acts of violence and guaranteeing emotional support as well as fair investigation.

Revamp the FYCARE and Haven programs so students are not simply completing requirements, but taking away information.

There is no quick-fix solution to ending rape culture on college campuses, but enforcing policies in regards to investigations of the incidents as well as a zero-tolerance policy for any act of abuse is one way to reduce the frequency in which sexual assault happens.

It’s time that the University, as well other institutions around the country, show they really do care about sexual assault survivors.

Isaiah is a sophomore in Media.

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