SJU Needs To Do More About Sexual Assault

Anika Seoparson, Staff Writer

With Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation and the #MeToo Movement, sexual assault is a consistent topic in the news today.

The dialogue for sexual assault on college campuses, however, does not seem as prevalent.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted on college campuses with only 1twelve percent of these assaults being reported.

I think St. John’s University is doing a great job educating students on sexual assault and providing victims with a safe space to come forward but there are still ways the school could shed more light on this topic.

St. John’s stated that the campus is, “committed to providing confidential, nonjudgmental  and appropriate support services for all sexual assault survivors.”

St. John’s provides students with ample on-campus resources for victims of sexual assault, but I think the University should do more to emphasize the presence of these resources.

St. John’s University has the SOAR (Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness and Response) Office, which “works to prevent and reduce the traumatic impact of sexual assault, dating and relationship violence, and stalking at St. John’s University.” SOAR provides students with training sessions to bring awareness to sexual assault and prevent these incidents.

SOAR administers an online sexual assault education course for all incoming students called Haven. There is also a required sexual assault prevention course for all students on MySJU.

While these measures are imperative in an academic environment, I think most students forget about these courses after their first year at St. John’s.

St. John’s has Title IX coordinators who work to prevent sex discrimination.

However, while every student has likely heard of Title IX, many students are unaware of what the specific policies are.

If a student chooses not to share their assault with Title IX coordinators, St. John’s also participates in Callisto, a third-party college sexual assault system.

Callisto is helpful for those reluctant to speak up.

Many sexual assaults go unreported for reasons varying from distrust of authorities and feelings of fear and shame, so St. John’s should make this option known to students.

While St. John’s has undoubtedly created a safe, comfortable space, sexual assault is not easy to deal with.

I think it is crucial that the University continues to emphasize that sexual assault is unacceptable and that students can seek help here.

If St. John’s held more events regarding sexual assault, and brought awareness to the on-campus services and school policies, I am certain they would help students even more.