August 30. September 6. September 17. September 21. September 23. September 23. September 29.
Seven reports of sexual assault. Seven reminders that campus isn't as safe as we thought.
Are we doing enough to address the problem on our campus?
Two of these assaults were reported to Miami University Police Department (MUPD). Five cases were reported to Oxford Police Department OPD).
All of them need to be taken seriously.
Sexual assault on campus is nothing new. What's new is that people are becoming more comfortable in coming forward and the national dialogue around the issue has changed. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, the conviction of Bill Cosby and the Kavanaugh hearings, sexual assault has become apart of the national conversation.
Yet we have not heard from the university on what actionable steps Miami is taking to address sexual assault.. They have not issued any plans to change the situation, denouncements of the assaults or promises to improve.
This is not normal.
Schools like Ohio University and University of Cincinnati have seen students taking a stand against sexual assault. Greek life students are waving signs that read "Consent is Sexy Mandatory."
A female student at Ohio University created a GroupMe as a dedicated safe space for survivors -- it quickly exceeded the 500 person limit for group chats.
Beyond the incident reports and safety bulletins, OPD Facebook posts and personal experience, people talk.
A lot of us come from the same Midwest communities -- Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago -- , and we know people back home who are considering attending Miami. When prospective students ask about the situation on campus and we honestly tell them what we've seen, it's not the most flattering picture.
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We understand that talking about how sexual assault is a problem on campus isn't the best marketing strategy for Miami.
But remaining silent and sweeping these accusations under the rug is even worse. In our eyes, a university that is actively and publicly working to prevent sexual assault and protect assault survivors is more appealing.
Miami is too concerned with appearing polished and unproblematic to address what everyone already knows is happening on campus.
However, the university can only do so much. If students don't listen, take this matter to heart, and commit to taking a stand, nothing is going to change.
This entire movement has been from the bottom up. It starts with us.
In our opinion, the way to prevent sexual assault is through empathy to the survivors and through holding people accountable for their actions. It's through understanding the trauma that these survivors go through and the fact that they have to live with that every day.
The conversation around sexual assault is changing, and that's a good thing.
Survivors all over the country are coming forward and speaking out about what has happened to them. The increased number of reports reflects this. It's people being brave enough and aware enough to report what has happened instead of pushing it off because they don't think anyone will take them seriously or do anything about it.
People are realizing that those things they used to write off as "that one weird hookup" are actually assault. People, men specifically, are becoming more aware of how their actions affect others.
So we need to take advantage of this moment we find ourselves in.
It's on all of us to keep the conversation going. We can't wait for the university to speak out, though we hope they do.
Why wait for spring to have a Take Back the Night march? Why not make this conversation louder?
It doesn't have to be something drastic. Walk your friends home, even if it means missing the next round of beer pong. Ask for consent and think about your actions.
Take care of each other and continue to speak out.