As the years go by, more and more students are being raped or sexually assaulted on campus, according to kgw.com. In the last few years, it seems to have been especially bad.
At the University of Montana (UM), students are now required to watch an online video on sexual assault awareness and score a 100 percent on a quiz about the video that will be given to them afterwards. If a student doesn’t get all seven of the questions correct, he/she cannot register for the next semester’s classes. However, students who don’t pass at first can immediately retake the quiz. The purpose of this test is to help students become more aware of what is going on at the university and to minimize the occurrence of sexual assaults. According to cnn.com, Missoula (the county in which UM is located) is known as “America’s Rape Capital.” UM has been especially at risk for sexual assaults compared to other universities. In fact, there have been 11 alleged sexual assaults involving UM students over the last 18 months alone, according to insiderhighered.com
First of all, it is amazing that colleges are finally doing something about this worldwide problem. It took them long enough to come to their senses. The thing is, people don’t realize just how scary, frustrating and overwhelming the aftermath is for a rape victim. They will never fully understand unless they have been through it or they know someone personally who has been through it. Although I have never been sexually assaulted in any way, shape or form, I know people who have, and I sympathize with them. Sure, they try to depict rape scenes in some television shows, such as Degrassi, but in reality, it’s much more violent than what is shown.
This test will benefit the students at UM, especially those who go out often. Many of the questions on the test website, Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness (PETSA), will help students know what to do in these types of situations, so that, hopefully, a sexual assault won’t occur. An example question is: “If you see two drunk friends leaving a party together, what should you do?”
Thankfully, so far, the test has improved the way that students see things regarding the dangers of sexual assault. According to insiderhighered.com, Danielle F. Wozniak (an Associate Professor of Social Work and co-chair of Montana’s University Council on Student Assault who recommended and helped develop the student test) says, “Student feedback has been really, really positive; especially from women who have lived with this issue all their lives…. They are just all saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this out in the open, thank you for being able to talk about it, thank you for doing this.’ ” Zachary Brown, a senior and President of the Associated Students at UM, says, “I think it’ll make a lot of people question different sexual interactions they’ve had in their lives. The videos are very provocative. I think they’re going to spur a lot of emotions and reactions from people, positive and negative, and I think they’ll make people uncomfortable in many situations, which ultimately is probably a good thing, from my perspective.” By the looks of it, it seems that UM’s idea is going as planned.
Although there are a lot of students who believe that taking this test is helpful, there are certainly those who aren’t thrilled at all with the idea and who complain. So, let me get this straight then. You can’t dedicate an hour of your time to educate yourself on something that might possibly save yourself or someone a lot of hurt? I’ll try to put it simpler…suck it up! If you want to stay in school that badly, you would pay close attention to the video, that way you would get all the answers right. It’s not as if it were a difficult exam that consists of 50 questions anyway.
Just because other schools aren’t as susceptible to cases of rape, doesn’t mean that only The University of Montana should implement this test. The more people are aware, the less people fall victim to sexual assaults. The University of Tampa could use that sort of approach, considering that we have had our share of a few rapes on campus. I had the chance to interview a UT student who was raped in the Brevard dorm building last year. What’s even more shocking is that the rapist was actually one of the RAs. “I was definitely in shock. I know it might sound a little far-fetched, but I was just hoping the whole time that he wasn’t going to kill me afterwards, because he was being pretty violent. Afterwards, I walked back to my dorm soaking wet (he had taken me into the shower at one point) and shaking. I immediately went to my RA and broke down crying in his room and told him everything,” the girl explained.
Just from listening to the rape victim, I could tell how horrific the event was for her. It just goes to show how serious this type of crime is and knowing how bad it is makes it more necessary to try to prevent it. However, you can see through her bright face that she has grown from the experience. “Now, when I’m going out, I’m extra careful about staying with friends. I think a lot of girls don’t see it as a possibility and think, ‘That could never happen to me’– but it does happen”, she says. When asked what her thoughts were about the UM test, she said, “I like that the University of Montana started that test. I know UT has a test sort of like this, but it’s not sufficient. I took the test before my freshman year and I don’t remember any of it. It needs to be more extensive. This is coming from someone who was raped.”