Some girls on this campus cannot sleep at night.

Guilt, pain, distress and fear among many other emotions envelop them. Eventually, sleep provides temporary relief because waking up means reliving moments that left them scarred.

Some individuals report their stories, yet many others remain silent because they feel like they have to. This should never be the case. But it is.

Sexual assault is a rampant problem on campus, and one that still remains to be dealt with appropriately. It’s week four of school and we’ve already received an email about one.

Even in light of the MeToo movement, people push blame toward the girls, on how they dressed, how they flirted or behaved. Talking or watching a movie together doesn’t mean anything more than that. Girls don’t owe guys anything; rather these are excuses guys like to use to justify themselves. This is an issue of right and wrong, nothing else.

Assaulters act both aggressively and arrogantly and this is for one reason alone: because they can.

Guys believe they can do what they want with no repercussions. This apathetic and entitled attitude is a breeding ground for unapologetic living and one that’s leaving girls ashamed for something that’s not their fault.

Three people I know have experienced assault and their stories nauseate me. I see the look in their eyes when they talk about it and it’s a mix of fear and embarrassment. I see what happens when guys treat girls like objects.

These are people I know. People I care about. The worst part is they’re making excuses for the guys that hurt them. They may even still talk to him to avoid the confrontation that goes along with blocking his number.

I was talking to one of my friends who’d experienced assault and she told me it would take years to move past a trauma like this, if she ever could. Time may fade some of the emotions, but they’ll never disappear completely. This type of event remains etched into the memories of those who unfortunately have to endure them.

Think about that.

These assaulters walk away with the weekend, taking a piece of that girl’s innocence leaving her to pick up the pieces.

She could spend a year of her life working through the emotions that accompany trauma, gathering up those fragmented pieces. The background soundtrack comprised of voices telling her how it was her fault, what could she expect to happen, only make this healing process harder.

Then inevitably another bad-memory-evoking situation presents itself, knocking those broken pieces out of her hands all over the floor.

It’s never really over.

It’s also forgotten how often these instances occur with a close friend. These guys make light of the situations, laughing off a serious physical violation as ‘a good time’ or ‘fun night.’ This attitude leads to girls making themselves believe it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but it is. It always is.

A generic email from the administration detailing the incident’s location and a vague physical description of the suspected individual isn’t enough. With the current reporting process, girls have to literally plead their case to get people to believe and support them.

I wonder if they knew their weekend behavior could affect an academic record future employers would see, if their disregard for the rules would decrease. I do know, however, if we let these people walk around on campus without a mark on their record for their behavior, they win.

I beg Miami to take a powerful stance on this issue so assaulters cannot hide in the shadows of their actions. Bring them into the light and mandate they bring their terrible actions with them. It can’t be a formal trial or nothing. Let’s change the process, whether it be a suspension, a note on a transcript, something to instill some fear into the minds of accused assaulters.

What we’re doing right now is not working.

Picture this: these guys will inevitably graduate Miami, take that resume and hand it across the desk of a big name company like JP Morgan Chase. They’ll sit back comfortably in fancy suits and dress shoes while employers browse their accomplishments.

Things might be looking pretty good on that resume because their weekend deeds don’t make it onto the page.

That’s must to change.

I want a box on each academic transcript, given a pseudonym like Code Pink, with a date and mark for any time they were accused of sexually assaulted someone. To dissuade unfair accusations having negative impacts later on, perhaps the Code Pink could be permanently removed if the individual was proven innocent.

That bank employer will lean forward in his chair and ask what a Code Pink means and what it’s doing on his potential employee’s transcript.

Miami, make assaulters answer that question.

If we don’t, these college guys will grow up and join the workforce with the same corrupt and disgusting values as the men investigated during the MeToo movement. I don’t want to live in a world where predators have such power. I don’t want my friends to fear reporting assault because ‘it’ll ruin his life.’ After making a conscious decision to physically and emotionally hurt another individual, that person needs to deal with the consequences.

He has got to be held responsible.

They all do.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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