Sexual assault a serious issue in college

A+sign+posted+to+raise+awareness+about+rape+on+a+college+campus.+Twenty+percent+of+women+and+6.25+percent+of+men+are+sexually+assaulted+in+college.+Photo+by+Wolfram+Burner%2C+via+Flickr.com%2C+used+with+permission
A sign posted to raise awareness about rape on a college campus. Twenty percent of women and 6.25 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college. Photo by Wolfram Burner, via Flickr.com, used with permission

A sign posted to raise awareness about rape on a college campus. Twenty percent of women and 6.25 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college. Photo by Wolfram Burner, via Flickr.com, used with permission

A sign posted to raise awareness about rape on a college campus. Twenty percent of women and 6.25 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college. Photo by Wolfram Burner, via Flickr.com, used with permission

Bukola Adeleye and Kenise Brown

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






A sign posted to raise awareness about rape on a college campus in 2013. Twenty percent of women and 6.25 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college. Photo by Wolfram Burner, via Flickr.com, used with permission

About 20 percent of women and 6.25 percent of men are sexually assaulted in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In May 2014, 55 universities were announced as being under federal investigation by the Department of Justice for their handling of sexual assault cases. As of March 2017, 225 post-secondary institutions were under investigation.

Among the colleges that University Academy graduating seniors are planning to attend, the University of Rochester, University of Virginia and Monroe College are under investigation.

Senior Keithleen Penetrante said that “sexual assault is always on the back of her mind.”

“It’s scary because though it’s so stupid that, that’s actually a problem. We never know when it’ll happen,” Penetrante said. “I don’t think clothes is the problem of sexual assault occurring, it’s the person that is doing it. Think of it like a predator sneaking on its prey. If they see a chance, they’ll do it. Society just uses clothes as an excuse.”

Senior Kayla Diaz said that students should be more careful on college campuses.

“In some cases, clothing can be a part of the reason of sexual assault because the clothing can be provocative where it can attract a person to commit the crime,” Diaz said. “Be aware of your surroundings because everyday is a risk.”

Title IX is a federal law that talks about how anyone of any gender should not be “excluded, denied or discriminated from any educational programs or activity like universities that is receiving any type of federal financial assistance.”

This means that colleges and universities must have procedures on handling sexual assault cases.

NJCU Counseling Center psychologist Alissa Koval-Dhaliwal said sexual assault is taken “very seriously” at the university.

“We have a pretty strong Women’s Center, we have a pretty strong counseling center that works very hard along with the Office of the Dean of Students to try and promote a campus in which sexual assault is not tolerated, in which sexual harassment is not tolerated, in which any forms of subjugation or discrimination towards anyone are not tolerated,” Dhaliwal said.

Dhaliwal said that there are very specific things in the code of conduct that are prohibited.

“You can’t say things that create a hostile environment for other people to live in. So, for an example, you can’t say comments that are sexually harassing to other people without there being any consequences,” Dhaliwal said.

Dhaliwal said there are consequences for students who violate the code of conduct.

“If someone says something that violates our code of conduct, you can’t play it off as just a joke; it will be taken very seriously here. A student can be given probation depending on how the dean’s office feels the sanctions should be meted out to the student,” Dhaliwal said. “The worst of consequences is students being removed from campus, and probably the least of consequences is students getting a warning.”

Junior Justin Gómez said “he does not think sexual assault occurs in the school, but if students do not stop playing around, there may be consequences.”

“I see inappropriate touching that could be [viewed as] sexual assault,” Gómez said. “Before it gets too far, [teachers] should handle the situation delicately.”

 Senior Jamar Smith said that “sexual assault is something that is very negative.”

“I don’t appreciate the fact that people will do that to others,” Smith said. “I will see a boy playing around with his girlfriend. It looks playful, but you won’t know what happens later on or behind closed doors.”

Harassment/Intimidation/Bullying Specialist Nicholas Morris said that sexual assault needs to be reported to any administrator that is available.

“The worst thing a teacher or any staff [can do] is to not report an assault on an individual in the school. In our school the telephones to the front desk are available in every classroom for a staff to receive aide in an emergency or any serious matter,” Morris said. “The problem in our school is that sometimes it is somewhat consensual for boys and girls, teasing each other in that way. When you see that then you really can’t be pouring every little incident to the office because it happens all the time.”

NJCU staff goes through training to help students going through certain issues including sexual assault on campus, according to Dhaliwal.

“All of the university staff, everyone who works here in the last few years had to undergo very special training with regard to Title IX,” Dhaliwal said. “All staff need to be trained to be able to respond in a supportive and appropriate way to any student who reports harassment or assault, so the training was about teaching staff what constitutes harassment and assault behavior and what to do when a student reports something, so we can bring it to the appropriate people so that student can move forward.”

At freshman orientation, all students receive information about NJCU’s code of conduct, Dhaliwal said.

“During orientation every student is given a flash drive which has the entire code of conduct. There will be training during orientation in which students will receive information about a variety of code of conduct issues: alcohol, sexual violence, plagiarism,” Dhaliwal said.

Dhaliwal said that the students have the opportunity to speak to confidential resources at the university for support and about their options before deciding whether or not they want to report a sexual assault.

“We want people to recognize that there are places on campus where they can get support and information without being required to make an official report to either the University or to the police,” Dhaliwal said

The victim of sexual assault decides whether to report it to the police as a crime or just to the school’s disciplinary board, according to Dhaliwal.

“Some students will say, ‘I don’t want to deal with the criminal justice system, I just want to deal with having sanctions and consequences [on campus],” Dhaliwal said.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than 90 percent victims of sexual assault do not report it.  

Dhaliwal said that there are many reasons why victims of sexual assault do not report.

“Sometimes it’s because they in their mind think that sexual assault means [a particular kind of act], and if that didn’t happen to them, then it’s not sexual assault. Sometimes it’s fear, ‘I’m afraid that if I report this, that people will question me, or somebody in my family will find out and they won’t support me,’ or ‘I’m blaming myself,’ or drug and alcohol are reasons why people may choose to not report,” Dhaliwal said. “Sometimes it’s just too overwhelming having to tell somebody.”

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network has identified four steps for others to help prevent sexual assault: ”create a distraction, ask directly, refer to an authority and enlist others.”

“Whether or not you were able to change the outcome, by stepping in you are helping to change the way people think about their role in preventing sexual assault. If you suspect that someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are steps you can take to support that person and show you care,” as reported on the website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    School water tested for lead, as required by state

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Hasidic Jews migrating to Jersey City raises questions

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Trump’s actions on immigration cause fear

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Trump, Republicans take steps toward restricting abortion access

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Republican health law receives backlash

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Changes in school policies, administration spark mixed reactions

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    Teachers go back to school

  • News

    Teachers and staff, trustees agree to new contract

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    School reacts to surprise election of Trump

  • Sexual assault a serious issue in college

    News

    School dedicates plaque to freshman’s memory

Sexual assault a serious issue in college