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Stomping the Yard

Campus Sexual Assault Reports on the Rise

Calling all college students! Our weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives. JETmag.com’s team of experts will show you how to get it done, from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for Stomping the Yard via talkback@jetmag.com.

 

“Let’s talk About sex baby!”

“I wanna sex you up”

“I don’t see nothing wrong, with a little bump and grind…”

“There’s a meeting in my bedroom…”

And those are just a sampling of the songs from back in MY college days. There is no denying that sex and various forms of sexual expression have become a central theme of American culture.  Sex between two consenting adults can be the kind of experience that elicits wry smiles, fond flashbacks, and a sweated-out perm. But when sex is not consensual, it’s the kind of experience that brings emotional scars, nightmares, and shame.

The term “consensual” has come up for debate in recent months, particularly on college campuses. New federal government regulations have published a list of colleges and universities under investigation for their handling of sexual assault cases.

Sexual assault on college campuses has become such a hot topic that California Governor Jerry Brown signed a “yes means yes” law requiring college students to give consent before having sex.

According to NPR, the definition of consent under the bill requires “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Under Title IX Federal regulations, all colleges in the state will be required to educate students about the requirements of this new legislation.

As such, reports of sexual assault across college campuses are on the rise. Many laud this as a positive change. The primary reason sex offenders walk freely is because their victims often don’t report the crime. However, there is growing demand for more colleges and universities to create environments where students are not only educated about what to do in the event of a sexual assault, but places where they feel safe, and supported through the process.

Victims of sexual assault should:

1. Seek medical attention – It is against the law for any emergency room to refuse a patient treatment, regardless of their insurance status. While it may seem intuitive to want to shower, doing so can wash away physical evidence necessary to prosecute the offender.

2. File a report with the police – The responding officer and medical professional typically work on the victim’s behalf to gather as much information as possible in order to move forward with an investigation.

3. Seek psychological help – Most colleges and universities have health and psychological services available to help with the emotional trauma of sexual assault. There is no “right” way to respond to being victimized. Feelings after a sexual assault can last for weeks, days, or months.  Speaking with a counselor can provide a safe haven for sharing these feelings.

4. Accept genuine support – Moving forward with sexual assault charges can be a daunting process. Many victims, who initially report the crime, decide not to press charges because of the emotional dynamics involved with moving forward. Accept support from caring friends and family members who can offer comfort and reassurance.

5. Become familiar with medical withdrawal policies – Some victims of sexual assault use schoolwork as a welcome distraction from the memories of being victimized. Others find it difficult to concentrate and struggle to keep up with classes and course work. Talk with an academic advisor and see if the school has a policy that allows students to withdraw for medical reasons or extenuating circumstance. Taking some time away may be necessary step in the recovery process.

Unlike Hollywood sex scenes, sex in real life is more complicated and the after-effects are authentic. Be sure that before you take that step, you and your partner clearly understand what YES really means.

About Dr. Shante Bishop

Shante-Bishop

Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on FacebookYouTube and Twitter