Sexual Assault on Bloomington-Normal College Campuses
Sexual assault is common on college campuses. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted on campus .Bloomington-Normal, Illinois has three colleges. One 4 year public college, a community college, and a private university.. With 3 colleges in town that is a high number of people sexually assaulted per year. There is a rough total of 25,400 students enrolled in college in Bloomington-Normal.
There are multiple different types of sexual assault. Statutory rape is one that occurs with a minor and an adult. Elderly abuse includes non consensual acts towards an elderly person which can include rape. There is coercion which is where a person is manipulated into doing sexual acts. There is also forceful sexual assault which is where someone uses physical force or violence to do non consensual, sexual acts on another person. Statistics from RAINN, a group affiliated with the Department of Justice, show that 13% of colleges students will experience sexual assault through means of violence and force.
Sexual assault and violence can happen to anyone. There is no specific demographic based on nationality or race. It does however happen to women and feminine presenting people more than men and masculine presenting people. All sorts of people are assaulted, men, women, nonbinary people, and trans people experience sexual assault. It also does not matter what sexual preference someone has they can still be assaulted.
There are higher rates of sexual assault with intoxicated individuals. Illinois State University is a “party school” which basically means that it is a hot spot for parties with college students. These are common with colleges with fraternities and sororities. Though alcohol does influence sexual assault it is not the only way it occurs. Date rape is another common way of sexual assault. It’s where some sort of drug is slipped into something the victim consumes or touches and they are incapacitated.
In August of 2022, ISU experienced 3 reported sexual assaults in the first week of school. These were the reported sexual assaults. Only 20% of women ages 18-24 actually report to schools or law enforcement. With a roughly 25,400 students in the colleges in Bloomington- Normal, Illinois this is a small number of students who actually report their sexual assaults.
There are many stigmas and stereotypes for victims of sexual assault. That is a reason for low reports. Some of these include the amount of alcohol a person consumed, what they were wearing, if they were alone, etc. Due to these and the mental toll it takes on the victim the reporting numbers are much lower than they would be if people reported it more often.
Who can be reported to? There are many different places and people to report to. Hospitals are always recommended as sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted and should be tested for. It is also very possible that there was some kind of tearing or more damage done and can be medically treated. Doctors and nurses are trained for these types of situations-this also includes college and school nurses. Hospitals are also able to store what they find with the victim’s consent, it can be used as evidence if the victim allows it. This is called a rape kit. Hospitals can also prescribe medicine for it and get the victims more help if they want it. The police are also an option, this is normally when someone wants to press charges and for action to be done against the perpetrator. Schools are also an option. The school can be used as a form of action and once it’s in the school’s hands they can decide if someone will be punished. Most of the time the school and the police work side by side in cases of sexual assault.
Schools all follow their own codes of conduct. Most of the time these are influenced by the State. Even though they all follow the same guidelines they are all different. Some codes of conduct don’t even have information on sexual assault and violence. Each college in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois has a code of conduct.
ISU’s code of conduct has a lot of information on different types of misdemeanors. One that is talked about is sexual assault. In the Student Code of Conduct for ISU, rape is viewed as a violation of the law and is taken seriously. This is only rape though, not other forms of sexual assault.
Heartland Community College also has a student code of conduct. In their code of conduct it also has places to report violations of the code of conduct that is easily accessible.
Illinois Wesleyan University has the most in depth code of conduct as they are a private university and follow much stricter rules. In their code of conduct they talk about how they work with the law in situations such as sexual assault. It goes into depth on the actual code of conduct document.
There is no for sure way to prevent sexual assault as it would need to be an entire societal change. There are some ways to make the rates lower. Reporting is always an option, this does not prevent it as it’s an action that happens after the attack happens but it can help in the long run. Harsher punishments are a way to lower the rates. In Illinois the sentence can range from 8 months to 20 years. This depends on the factors that go into the case. People accused of rape are able to get out on bail. Also a good way to lower the rates is to donate to organizations who have more power to do something. Many organizations like, the YWCA Stepping Stones, work with victims and volunteers to offer help and care to the victims. Organizations like this can make a bigger impact on the issue. Support for other groups like Planned Parenthood are also needed as they offer affordable healthcare to people who have been sexually assaulted. It can also be prevented when people see something they say something. This ties into the lack of reporting.
Organizations For People Affected By Sexual Assault
Friends and family that are trusted are good options for someone to talk to and support. The options above are only a fraction of the people and organizations that can help. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
https://rss.com/podcasts/sexual-assault - podcast
“2023 Top Party Schools in Illinois.” Niche, https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/top-party-schools/s/illinois/. Accessed November 2,2022
“Code of Student Conduct.” Dean of Students, 3 Sept. 2020, https://deanofstudents.illinoisstate.edu/conduct/code/. Accessed November 2,2022
“National Sexual Assault Hotline: Confidential 24/7 Support.” RAINN, https://www.rainn.org/resources. Accessed November 2,2022
“Need to Talk? We're Here for You.” RAINN, https://www.rainn.org/. Accessed November 2,2022
“Saam 2022 - Building Safe Online Spaces...” National Sexual Violence Resource Center, https://www.nsvrc.org/. Accessed November 2,2022
Schick, Austin. “ISU PD Investigates Multiple Sexual Assaults; Offers Resources for Victims.” CIProud.com, CIProud.com, 1 Sept. 2022, https://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/isu-pd-investigates-multiple-sexual-assaul .Accessed November 2,2022.
“Stepping Stones.” YWCAMLC, https://www.ywcamclean.org/what-we-do/prevention-and-empowerment-services/stepping-stones/. Accessed November 2,2022
Stewart, Danielle. “Stigmas and Stereotypes around Sexual Assault and Reporting.” Resilience, 26 Mar. 2021, https://resiliencemi.org/stereotypes/.
“Student Conduct.” Student Conduct | Heartland Community College, https://www.heartland.edu/studentHandbook/conduct.html. Accessed November 2,2022
“Student Handbook.” Illinois Wesleyan University, https://www.iwu.edu/judicial/handbook/. Accessed November 2,2022.
“What Is a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam?” RAINN, https://www.rainn.org/articles/rape-kit. Accessed November 2,2022