Starting next week students from all over the country will be heading back to school and for many high school graduates, it will mean, leaving home for the very first time to begin their freshman year in college.
That transition for most will be filled with anxiety and angst and most parents will be praying every day for their safety, as I still do with my own son who will be returning to Bowie State University in a few weeks to start his senior year.
However, along with packing and praying, we need to prepare and arm them with the necessary information when it comes to the sexual assault statistics on a lot of these college campuses. As a matter of fact, one of my tv watching guilty pleasures is The Quad on BET and they are dealing with this subject – up front and in your face.
Social media didn’t create sexual assaults on campus, however, it has made it worse because of the instant sharing and constant need for online validation.
If you read the statement by Candice Jackson, the acting head of the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, then you were probably as shocked as I was when she stated, “Rather, the accusations, 90% of them, fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk, we broke up and six months later I found myself under Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right'”
However, when Vice President, Joe Biden spoke about the rape culture on campus, he made a blunt statement to male college students on how they can end sexual assault by respecting consent and challenged them to fight the culture of silence and victim blaming.
“Guys, a woman who is dead drunk cannot consent — You are raping her!” he said. “We’ve got to talk about this. Consent requires affirmative consent!”
Joe Biden spoke these words to an arena of students at George Mason University on behalf of the “It’s On Us” initiative. He encouraged both men and women to speak up to stop an assault from happening but placed the particular onus on men to challenge the false narrative that being a man means mistreating a woman.
“It’s our responsibility, men in particular, but all of us, to stop this culture,” he said. “If you can’t get her to say ‘yes’ because she wants to, you ain’t much.”
According to research from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women are sexually assaulted in college, but more than 90 percent of victims do not report the crime.
Granted, ‘the sex talk’ is not a topic that parents look forward to having with their kids no matter their age, but it is a conversation that must be had before he or she leaves home and moves into their college dorm room or apartment.
Social media has put an even greater spotlight on this subject because of the way students are viewing themselves unrealistically online. Some may also feel as though Social Media is destroying their lives.
Adults may be shocked to learn that teens today are obsessed with sex and that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder and other online tools are robbing our youth of meaningful, loving relationships. They don’t date, they just “hook up” and are more bold with each other online asking for nude photos, because they’re not looking into someone’s face.
SEX, LIES, AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Students between the ages of 8 and 18 are more than likely spending more than 11 hours a day plugged into an electronic device. The average American teen now spends nearly every waking moment on a smartphone, computer or watching TV.
Even before they SSS, they are heads down reading their social media feed. This shift in how kids spend their time is having a profound effect on the way they make friends, the way they date, and their introduction to the world of sex.
Kids have always been interested in sex, of course; but there have never been more ways for them to express that to one another, any moment of the day, no matter where they are. Statistics show that women between the ages 18-24 are at an elevated risk of sexual violence.
So just think, if these kids have learned about sex virtually from an electronic device then how will they act or react when it comes to physical sex in the real world. Leaving home is often the time of breaking out, freedom from parental rules and guidance and freedom to make decisions that they may have learned virtually has set them up for failure in the real world.
According to statistics, sexual violence on campus is pervasive.
- 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
- Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
- Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
- 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.2
- Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
- Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
- Only 20% of female student victim’s, age 18-24, report to law enforcement.
- Only 32% of nonstudent females the same age do make a report
Sexual Violence May Occur at a Higher Rate at Certain Times of the Year
- More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.
- Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.
The following information was taken from the Planned Parenthood.org website.
Consent is when a person freely agrees to something. When it comes to sex, consent is mandatory, every time.
Why does consent matter?
Consent is when someone agrees to do something sexual with you, whether it’s kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. Before doing any of those things, it needs to be totally clear that both people involved want it.
That means if you want to do something sexual with someone, you need to ask first. If you don’t ask first before you touch, kiss, or do anything sexual with someone, and they don’t say yes, then you don’t have that person’s consent, and what you’re doing to them may be rape or sexual assault. That’s why consent matters.
Asking for consent isn’t hard or awkward. In fact, it makes doing sexy stuff less awkward and less confusing because when there’s clear consent, you know for sure that the person you’re with is down to do the same thing you are.
Freely given. It’s not okay to pressure, trick, or threaten someone into saying yes. And you can’t give consent if you’re drunk, high, or passed out.
Reversible. It’s okay to say yes and then change your mind — at any time! Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
Informed. You can only consent to something if you have all the facts. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should do stuff you WANT to do, not things people expect you to do. If someone doesn’t seem enthusiastic (meaning happy, excited, or energized), stop and check in.
Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to other things (like having sex).
There are laws about who’s able to consent. If the person you’re with is…
- Drunk or high
- Asleep or passed out
- Below the legal age of consent or much younger than you
- Disabled in a way that affects their ability to understand you
…then they can’t consent, and it’s not okay for you to do anything sexual with them.
What does consent look like?
Consent is a clear, happy, excited “yes!” Anything else is NOT consent.
So, how do you get that? Ask. Asking for consent is a piece of cake: state what you want to do, and ask if they want to do that too.
Example: I really want to kiss you. Do you want me to?
- If they say “yes” and seem happy, that means they’re consenting, and you can kiss them. Party on!
- If they say “yes” but don’t seem unsure or worried about it, they are NOT consenting. Check in again by saying “Are you sure? We don’t have to do that.”
- If they say “no,” or “I don’t know,” or don’t say anything, they’re not consenting, and you need to stop and ask what they’re feeling/thinking.
- Remember: consent for 1 sexual thing doesn’t mean consent for all sexual things.
- It’s okay for you or the person you’re with to say “stop” at any time. Pay attention to what you partner says, and how happy they seem about it.
Let’s say you hooked up with someone, and everything went great. A few weeks later you think you and that person might hook up again. You need to ask for consent all over again. It’s not enough to get consent just once — consent needs to happen every time.
You also have the right to say “no” to anything at any time, even if you’ve done it in the past. Even if you’re seriously dating someone and you’ve done something a bunch of times, it’s still important to ask for consent and to check in with each other.
If you ask for consent and someone says no, try not to take it too personally. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person doesn’t like you, either. Different people have different boundaries.
But once you know a person isn’t cool with what you’re asking, stop asking. Don’t try to make them feel bad for saying no to you, or try to convince them that they’re wrong or missing out. That’s disrespectful, and not fun at all.
If someone asks for your consent to do something sexual, and you want to do it, consenting is easy. All you have to do is say “yes!” You might also consider “omg totally,” “please do that,” “yes, and…” or your own sexy version of “I’m into this.”
But what if you don’t want to consent to something sexual? If the person you’re with asks for your consent, it’s easier to say no. But unfortunately, lots of people don’t ask for consent before they start touching, kissing, undressing, or doing other sexual things to your body. And telling someone you don’t want to do something can sometimes feel hard. It’s normal to worry about disappointing them, especially if you like them. But you don’t have to apologize or explain yourself. Just saying “no,” or “stop” is enough.
Here are some other ways to say “no.”
- I don’t like that.
- I’m not into that.
- I’m not ready for that.
- I don’t feel like it today.
- I really like you, but I don’t want to do that right now.
- I’ll only do that if we use a condom.
- How about we do ____ instead?
If the person you’re with pressures you to try something, it means they don’t know how to respect your boundaries, and that’s not cool.
If you say “no” or “stop” to someone, and they keep doing that thing, that’s sexual assault. It’s NEVER okay for someone to touch you in a sexual way without your permission, and it’s not your fault if they do. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, abused, or raped, help is available.
Let’s Chat: Have you had the talk with your kids?
8 thoughts on “Social Media & Sexual Assaults on Campus”
Staggering and mind blowing statistics! Great tips for all. A friend of mine used to teach a course for young women on safety and made sure they understood never to leave their drink unattended. She also reinforced the buddy system, no one goes home alone and no one is left at a party without eyes on them for longer than 10 minutes!
Yes, when I read the stats I was blown away. I pray every day for the safety of our sons, but I also provide them with enough information so hopefully, they will make the right decisions when they come to that fork in the road.
Such an important conversation to have. Eye opening to say the very least.
Thank you, Liz, it is definitely something that we need to address because once they leave home, the outside influencers may be more than they can bear, therefore, if we arm them with information and knowledge hopefully, it will help them making the right decisions.
Great post – timely and necessary.
YES. This is a very important topic to discuss with your young adults. I had long discussions with my son during his middle school years and with both my Nieces more than twice. They are all in their 30’s now and we still talk about ‘Self Respect’ when we get together.
Yes, when our “kids” leave the comforts of home they are often exposed to many unfamiliar things and situations so unless they have been educated they may make the wrong decision.