DVC lacks resources for sexual assault victims

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DVC lacks resources for sexual assault victims

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Diablo Valley College is ignoring one of the largest threats college students face in their lifetime, and offer little guidance to those who have this traumatic experience. 

While state colleges and universities have sexual assault resources at students’ disposal, community colleges are only recently being included in college campus sexual assault reports and conversations. The reason they are excluded is because community colleges, for the most part, do not have dormitories or campus housing for students. This means very few reports of on-campus sexual assault, creating the illusion that it’s not an issue on community college campuses.

DVC has no resource center where victims can report both on and off-campus assault. The closest resource for victims of sexual assault is the Contra Costa Community College District Police Department, which doesn’t have a separate department for sexual assault.

This disturbing reality means there are few to no statistics to find regarding both on and off-campus assault cases. According to the most recent Campus Crime Awareness Report for DVC, no “forcible sex offense” reports were made from 2011-2013. Assuming that sexual assault doesn’t happen because it’s underreported only allows the problem to grow, and not just on state and university campuses.

The rest of the state is catching up to address this problem. The California Assembly approved Assembly Bill 969, which gives California Community Colleges the authority to dismiss students who have committed sexual assault towards other students, even if the incident was off campus. The bill was passed on May 19 of this year, and represents a step in the right direction toward ending the myths of rape culture among community college students.

According to “One In Four USA”, one in four college women are sexually assaulted. Some schools are paying more attention than others.

Solano Community College has its own health center on campus, complete with two public health nurses that also travel to SCC’s Vallejo and Vacaville campuses to offer free services to enrolled students. These include sexual assault support. Students didn’t just wait for their college to meet their needs, either. The health center is a direct result of a $13-a-semester fee implemented by their student government, as Regina Huerls-Washington, one of SCC’s nurses, pointed out.

SCC has sex safety practice lectures, a sexual assault information pamphlet, and even a sexual assault “myths and facts brochure, complete with stereotype-shattering statements about female victims. It informs the reader that men can also be victims.

DVC should follow Solano’s example and make these services and this information readily available. Sexual assault can and should become a serious discussion on this campus.

Students can voice their concerns on this issue by leaving suggestions for the Student Services department on the college website. These resources will help promote the official reporting of these crimes, bring awareness to the issue on campus, and hopefully mean a safer college experience for everyone.

And if the college won’t service its own students, then perhaps it’s time for our own student government to follow Solano’s lead and take matters into our own hands.

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