Sex assault victims should not feel stigma in reporting attacks


The Clery Act report came out last week, and the number of forcible sex offenses has increased at NIU.

This could mean one of two things: either sexual assault has increased or the number of people actually reporting them has increased. If more victims feel confident in reporting their attacks, increased reports mean an equally aware community.

Yet, more should be done to eliminate assaults.

The number of sexual assault reports should only remain high because they’ve been reported.

These reports should only decrease due to actual incidents decreasing.

Both the student body and the University Police can spearhead prevention.

Assaults cannot always be prevented, but more can be done to cut down on those assaults that have the window of opportunity for the victim to get away from his or her attacker or not get involved.

University Police Chief Donald Grady said in an interview that every sexual assault that happened on campus in the last seven years has been alcohol or drug-related. This can be debated, but students can avoid being assaulted when drugs or alcohol are involved.

Do not put yourself in a situation where you do not have a sound mind to protect yourself.

Also, the student body can be educated. Programs run every semester to teach students how to avoid situations where a forcible sex offense may occur. But most students don’t attend these programs. Everyone should take advantage of programs that teach self-defense.

The University Police has also increased its force to 63 officers. While we thankfully do not live in a police state, this expansion of the force means more victims can be heard and more assailants will not have the opportunity to attack.

Assaults will happen. But with proper education and proper awareness to one’s surroundings, they may occur less often. Victims have the right to fight back. If numbers of reports do increase, hopefully they alert the police of past occurrences and not of something that happened just last week.

If you have been a victim of a forcible sexual offense, it’s not your fault, and you can take action to help prevent future offenses by reporting the incident and bringing justice to the attacker.