"He did WHAT to you?"

On college campuses, rape and other forms of sexual assault are common crimes.

Regardless of what the poll says, everyone knows someone who has been a victim of sexual violence. Don't believe me? Check the graphics below and click here for more information. 

Graphic illustrating the statistic that 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).

Infographic depicts that male college students are at a higher risk than non-students of the same age to experience sexual assault or rape. Male students ages 18-24 are five times more likely than non-students of the same age to experience sexual violence.
Since 10% of all rape victims are male, I chose to add in information regarding this often-overlooked demographic. 

With odds like those, you definitely know someone who has been attacked - they just haven't told you.

Hampton University is under federal investigation for its handling (or lack thereof) of sexual violence among its students.  

Frankly, this investigation is long overdue. Over the past three years, I have come in contact with several victims...and their assailants. Simultaneously, I have never heard of anyone being expelled or even seriously investigated for rape. Hampton women continuously voice their concerns, but Hampton men tend to be much quieter about sexual assault. I don't mean to be presumptuous, it's just something I've noticed, especially in the past few days.

Personally, I think that HU hesitates to pursue reports for two reasons. 

First, just like in so many black spaces, things considered to be "shameful" are dealt with in-house or swept under the rug altogether. Second, students who are accused of sex crimes are typically those who are of prominence. Yes, this means our athletes, SGA/SLP/fraternity/executive board members, etc. These aren't stereotypical bums who don't have anything to offer (no offense bums), they're well liked and well respected among students, faculty and staff alike. This makes everyone - victims, witnesses, and administration officials - weary of seeking prosecution.  

So, what happens when justice for these victims isn't served? 

Some of them bear the enormous burden of coexisting with their assailants. Others transfer or drop out altogether. No decision is an easy one, and shouldn't have to be made in the first place. One former Hampton student shared her story of being raped, the lack of support she received from the university, the harassment she endured from her attacker, and finally her decision to transfer to another institution. 

Victims deserve peace. Assailants deserve severe punishment for their crimes. Students like me, who haven't been physically hurt, but are plagued with guilt and fear deserve to feel safe enough to help. Although it will take some time, hopefully, the federal investigation will shed some light into our ugly, hidden crevices.

What should we do in the meantime?

Speak out against the university and their harmful practices. Continue to follow the investigation as information is released. Educate yourselves on consent, and your options should you find yourself the victim of a sexual assault. Stop shaming victims. Stop defending rapists. Don't let this issue go.

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