OPINION: Ransdell signs proclamation for sexual assault awareness month

Signing cartoon


The issue: April is Kentucky’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To kick it off, President Gary Ransdell will be signing a proclamation provided by Hope Harbor that asks the WKU community to take this month to make the campus free of sexual violence.

Our stance: Ransdell signing this proclamation in order to increase awareness and facilitate discussion about sexual assault is a great start to putting an end to sexual violence.

Sexual assault occurs far too often on college campuses. According to a study conducted by the Association of American Universities, survey results from 27 universities concluded that 11.7 percent of students have been sexually assaulted. Sexual violence is most prevalent on college campuses, and while there is increasingly more awareness about the issue, there is room to make more of an effort.

Having specially sanctioned times in which leaders in the community try to expand awareness with events such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a good place to start. Dedicating a month in which to increase awareness and create open dialogue about sexual assault is wonderful, but it can’t stop there. After April is over, we can’t go back to ignoring the problem.

Hopefully Ransdell signing this proclamation means that the conversation will continue past the month of April. The sexual assault awareness proclamation is straight-forward and no-nonsense.

One section of the proclamation states, “Whereas, it is vitally important to increase public awareness of sexual violence and to increase support for agencies providing support services to victims/survivors, and Hope Harbor holds forth a vision of a community free from sexual violence.”

The more this issue is discussed and brought out into the open, the easier it will be to stop sexual assault. There is a stigma surrounding sexual assault victims which makes it difficult for them to discuss it with others, especially those in positions of power who are there to help them. Because victims are often blamed for what was done to them and they aren’t always taken seriously, they frequently choose not to seek help.

When there are open discussions about the widespread problem of sexual assault, it begins to become less stigmatized. This is why we need to establish a community in which we are free from sexual assault and victims are capable of healing.

Ransdell signing the proclamation shows that he is dedicated to helping create a campus community that is free from sexual violence and open to helping those who have been victimized. It’s wonderful for someone who is as respected and visible within the community as Ransdell to take a stand about these issues.

We need to work together as a community to put an end to sexual assault, and this month is a great time to start.