Campus sexual assault needs more discussion

As the number of sexual assault cases continues to rise, NIU must improve how it makes students aware of sexual assault prevention on campus.

A Thursday address from President Barack Obama illustrated a White House task force that spreads awareness of sexual assault prevention to boys, girls, men and women.

At Sunday’s Student Association Senate meeting, NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips said campus police are “looking to increase the presence of the Rape Aggression Defense program” and “introduce an improved emergency alert app,” according to today’s article.

Still, there’s more that can be done.

According to the NIU Police Department’s 2013-14 Annual Safety and Security Report, 11 forcible sex offenses occurred on campus in 2012. For context, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported 12 offenses and Southern Illinois University reported eight offenses. Eastern Illinois University reported five sexual assault cases. DePaul University reported two offenses on campus and four public offenses at its Lincoln Park campus.


NIU must inform students about sexual assault prevention during Orientation.

Students should know about the school’s resources before Move-In Day.

“There are a lot of different points of entry where sexual assault prevention could happen,” said Marjorie Askins, Sexual Victims advocate for Safe Passage. “It could happen during Orientation. It could happen during freshman seminar classes.”

Even though some students may not feel comfortable addressing sexual assault, it is NIU’s job to build a bridge between the victims and a comforting environment.

It is vital that NIU require residence hall directors and community advisers to discuss the resources available, like counseling services, the psychology department and Health Services.

The psychology department offers psychological services, and Health Services will provide psychiatric help.

Consistent crime notifications are also important in preventing sexual assault.

The university should email students weekly crime updates that include sexual assault times and locations. Students can use the statistics to avoid crime-ridden areas.

“A realistic picture of any kind of crime is going to help students understand the environment in which they’re living as well as give them a better idea as to how to keep themselves safe,” Askins said.


Professors can inform students about sexual assault prevention by having guest lecturers and Pause Off!, an organization that teaches about interpersonal violence prevention, speak during their classes. For example, general education classes could be a pivotal place to learn about sexual assault and NIU’s resources because the students in those classes are generally new and young.


The DeKalb Police Department’s app, iWatch, allows users to send anonymous crime tips to the police.

Utilizing the app could prevent something dangerous from happening.

Only implementing one of these solutions will not create the best results. NIU needs to better publicize sexual assault prevention programs, which will help decrease the number of on-campus offenses.