Sexual assault victims can reach out

Katie Wilborn/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

The looming reality of sexual assault, especially on college campuses, has been a national discussion after reports of schools ineffectively handling cases surfaced.

We are not naive enough to believe that this isn’t a possibility at Murray State, and fortunately, there are multiple outlets and protections available for people who have been a victim of sexual assault.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six American women have been the victim of some sort of sexual assault in their lifetimes and the most vulnerable age for someone to be assaulted is between ages 12 and 34.

Assault victims of any gender have psychological resources such as the Women’s Center, which provides counseling services and educates people on issues like domestic violence and suicide awareness.

Other than psychological well-being, physical health is a real risk in cases of sexual assault.

Health Services provides valuable services in this area. Health Services can provide assessment to physical injuries as well as provide laboratory services for pregnancy tests and sexually transmitted diseases.

Health Services is available for free to enrolled students and full-time faculty and staff. All information from checkups is required to remain confidential.

Checking up on one’s personal condition should be the first step for someone who is a victim of sexual assault, but it is also important to reach out to authorities or investigators. To report an incident of sexual assault or file a complaint or grievance against any school employee, students can go to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Access. A few of the focuses include educating students, faculty and staff about their rights and responsibilities with respect to harassment and discrimination. Staff at IDEA can investigate, process and assist in resolving illegal discrimination and harassment complaints.

Claims made by one student against another student should be made to the vice president of Student Affairs or a formal report can be made at Public Safety and Emergency Management.

Reporting incidents is as important as seeking medical or psychological help because it could prevent someone else from also becoming a victim.

Murray State recognizes the seriousness and reality of sexual harassment, which is why the University provides multiple avenues for educating, investigating and preventing these crimes. It is our responsibility as students to know about them so we are better prepared.

We should not be ashamed to reach out for help, whether it is for ourselves or for a friend.

Victims of sexual harassment may be left feeling isolated, ashamed or to blame. We should take advantage of educational seminars about sexual harassment, such as the rape, sexual assault and violence risk reduction seminar held Monday.

It’s not too late. More seminars are scheduled and they aren’t just for women.

The “Be A Man” seminar is scheduled for Oct. 20, 22 and 23, and it teaches how to express personal integrity, responsibility and accountability.

Encourage friends, sexual partners, classmates and those close to to you to educate themselves so we can all potentially prevent these crimes from happening. It’s time to step up and do something.