WPU Stands Against Sexual Assault


Jacob Martinez, Managing Editor

As accounts of sexual misconduct among high profile celebrities and executives continue to come to light, William Paterson University banded together in a show of force against sexual assault  hosting an event titled “It’s on Us.”

The event featured multiple booths in the ballrooms displaying educational information regarding sexual assault and its dated presence on college campuses.

The Student Government Association, along with The Women’s Center and numerous on-campus organizations, coordinated the event with the intent of educating attendees.

Around 20 percent of female college students will be involved in a sexually violent experience, according to the National Sexual Violence Research Center.

In New Jersey, sexual assault is legally defined as “the penetration, no matter how slight, in which physical force or coercion is used” as stated on the New Jersey State Police website.

A typical crime across the nation, sexual violence can shapeshift into unwanted sexual advancements to sexual harassment. Domestic Violence Response Team Coordinator Jennifer Singleton believes educating the public on the reality of sexual assault is “the most effective tool in stopping sexual violence.”

“Incidents of sexual assault have become the norm in our society and it’s because there is a lack of understanding of how these crimes affect our communities,” said Singleton.

In a report released by the New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault in June, it echoes Singleton’s vision recommending educating students on sexual violence “sooner than college.”

Higher Education

One of the most terrible aspects of battle in the fight against sexually violent crimes is the lack of reporting from victims attending college.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics published a report which stated college students victimized by sexual assaults are more likely not to report the incident. The report uncovers the disconnect underreporting causes between victims and those who provide supportive services.

The implementation of campus climate surveys offers college campuses an in-depth view of areas of concern regarding sexual misconduct.

Men make up nine percent of sexual assault victims with one in two members of the LGBTQ community have experienced rape.

Campus Disconnect

On Friday, the Education Department released a bill which will allow colleges to suspend or delay any in-house sexual assault investigation should the police investigating the same incident ask.

The new bill could also draw a divide between on-campus authorities and police forces although 86 percent of campus police agencies have a dedicated to survivor response and assistance as asserted by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. However, for every 1000 rape that can occur nationwide, only 57 incidents will result in arrests.

“Our youth today are more likely to follow our footsteps than they are our messages and that is why it is so important to not only talk to them about sexual violence but also to show them what a healthy relationship looks like,” said Singleton.