According to Concordia College, the total number of on-campus sexual offenses (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object and fondling) for the reporting year of 2015 was three — one instance of rape and two instances of fondling. According to a study done by the Association of American Universities, 23.1 percent of undergraduate females and 5.4 percent of undergraduate males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. Looking at these statistics, I obviously can’t make any definitive conclusions, but it seems rather clear that not all instances of sexual offenses are being reported to the college.
I have friends who have gone through the process of reporting sexual assault to the college; I also have friends who have made the decision not to do so. In most cases, that decision is based on what they’ve heard about the process from others who have experienced it. This unapproachable process means that some students are forced to walk among their attackers on campus. I’m all for inclusivity, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Not only do students struggle to report incidents of sexual assault, they are not granted the luxury of easy access to counseling to help deal with the aftermath. This brings us to the issue, not resource, that is the Concordia College Counseling Center. Unless you have a gun to your head, you’re going to wait an average of two weeks for an appointment with a counselor. I guess these victims should have had the foresight that they would be attacked a couple weeks before it happened so they could make an appointment for when they would need it. With the prevalence of mental illness among college students, you’d think this wouldn’t be the case, but for some reason Concordia has failed its students in this department.
There are a few things the college can do: 1) Acknowledge that sexual assault happens on this campus and have an open dialogue about it with students. 2) Make the process students must undergo when reporting sexual offenses more transparent— most of what we know of it comes from those who have gone through it. 3) Hire another counselor. I don’t really care where the funds from this come from; it needs to be a priority if this college wants to be an institution that cares about its students’ health.
The most important thing that students can do to solve this issue is report instances of sexual assault. I cannot claim to know how difficult this is to do, and I cannot claim to know how frustrating it is when you don’t get the result you’re hoping for. But if nothing else, do it for the sake of forcing Concordia to pay more attention to the issue by seeing more accurate data.
Sexual assault obviously doesn’t fit into any category or value that Concordia espouses, but that doesn’tmeanthecollegeshouldn’t talk about it. Just because we aren’t a big university doesn’t mean the risk isn’t still there. Sexual assault happens and it happens on this campus to our fellow Cobbers.
And with that, I leave your corn buttered.
Emma Garton (’19) is a senior studying Communications and Spanish. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian this year. In addition to working for the paper, Emma works in Concordia’s IT department, interns at Absolute Marketing Group in Fargo, ND, and plays trumpet in the Concordia Band.