People asked me what I was wearing. I was wearing an orange tank top with flowers on it and a pair of jean shorts with some fringe at the bottom. It was one of my favorite outfits before that.
People asked me if I was asking for it. I tell them no. No one ever is.
People ask if I reported it. I told them I was too scared.
I’m a sexual assault survivor and like so many others, I never got to tell my story. The conversation around sexual assault is uncomfortable but for people like me and other survivors, this conversation needs to be had and it needs to brought into the spotlight now more than ever to keep people safe.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but this month shouldn’t be the only time we talk about it.
According to National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact at some point in their lifetime and this number is consistently rising as we see an increase in self and police reports.
These are national numbers, but it is naive to think that women and men on our campus have not experienced this first hand. Along with having these conversations, we need to make sure every person on campus knows what resources are available to them.
The university offers multiple ways for students to report sexual misconduct through the Title IX office, ACUPD and Abilene police. Their contact information is available at acu.edu. Counseling services are also available at the Medical and Counseling Care Center on campus, and ACU also provides contact information for off-campus support including Hendrick Medical Center.
To the men and women on campus who have been victims of sexual assault, know that you are not alone. You are loved and valued and whether or not you want to share your story, these resources are available and there for you. To those who have not been victims, keep having these conversations and be there for your fellow students.