Acknowledging sexual assault when it is present is one of the most crucial measures to be taken in efforts to eliminate its occurrence. It is also imperative to know what resources are available if you or someone you know is affected by sexual violence.
How knowledgeable are Salt Lake Community College students on the topic of sexual violence?
Maddie Francis, a first year SLCC student, defines sexual assault as an unwelcome suggestion or touch that makes the receiver feel discomfort. She also believes that assaults could range in severity from a suggestion or a hand on the back to more aggravating actions such as groping or rape.
In any case, Francis encourages anyone stuck in a distressing situation to voice their discomfort.
“Say stop,” Francis says. “And if they don’t stop, make a scene so that others will notice and come to help you.”
“Don’t be ashamed”
SLCC student Paul Reynolds feels that the issue of sexual assault should be common sense.
“I would hope that it’s something most people know,” says Reynolds. He defines sexual assault to be assault driven by sexual purposes, and it can have some degree of subjectivity but that “someone might see unwanted flirting as sexual assault while others would say it’s not. If there is a feeling of threat, it is sexual assault.”
Reynolds feels that the media does a good job of letting the public know what sexual assault is, how to recognize it and how to handle it. But there is also a flip-side.
“Some people are desensitized to sexual assault,” says Reynolds. He denotes video games in which violence and objectification are prevalent and amplify this desensitization.
Reynolds agrees that it is important to make it known that advances are unwanted.
“If anyone feels they are a victim [of sexual assault] speak up,” he says. “Don’t be ashamed. Look for help. Get help.”
Support the victim
It is important to know that rape and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault.
Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that was not agreed to by an individual; which can include inappropriate touching, rape or attempted rape and child molestation. Sexual violence can be verbal, visual, or physical that forces a person to engage in unwanted sexual conduct or attention.
Reach out for assistance
Students can get help from several resources in the Salt Lake Valley.
The Rape Recovery Center provides a 24-hour crisis and information hotline, emergency response, counseling, support groups, legal advocacy and community education free of charge.
Many of the SLCC campuses have a Health and Wellness Center. SLCC students can come to the Health and Wellness center to receive affordable, sensitive and confidential services, which first visits come at no charge.