Two murders directly related to domestic violence call upon us to raise awareness of this human rights violation. One mother shot at the Brandywine YMCA and one 3 year-old boy enduring a private torture are but two examples illustrating the complexity and heinousness of this devastating problem. No one is safe from domestic violence. 1 in 4 people, regardless of race, creed or socio-economic class, will be touched by domestic violence in their lifetime. This is a staggering thought and one that can only bring sadness and alarm to our hearts.
As if this news wasn’t bad enough we awoke to a news story earlier this week concerning Lincoln University’s President Robert Jennings insinuating that women are partially responsible for being raped. This is simply unacceptable. Consent is required for sexual intercourse; it is that simple. Rapes and sexual assaults on college campuses are a reality and a situation that needs to be stopped.
A study completed by the Women’s Law Center last year reveals some hair-raising facts:
• 20% of young women and 6% of young men will experience a completed or attempted rape during their college career.
• Young women in their first 2 years of college are at the highest risk of sexual assault.
• Fear of retaliation, self-blame, lack of confidence that something will be done, and lack of understanding that what was done to them is a report-able problem are some of the many reasons victims do not report sexual harassment or assault.
• Female college students usually know the person who sexually assaulted them.
• Due to sexual victimization in college, many promising students are unable to complete their education and achieve their goals.
• Sexual harassment and/or assault experienced in college can cause physical, emotional and educational consequences that may be life-long.
The community’s response to women’s issues reflects its overall health. Only by educating ourselves with regard to these issues can we hope to stop them. It is a way to make Chester County better for each and every one of us, not only for our present but for our future.