Sexual assault awareness month brings sensitive subject to light

Abby Smith, Graphic Design Editor

With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month and many seniors begin preparing to head into college, it is an especially appropriate time to retouch the sensitive subject of sexual assault. Movements, both local and national, have shed light on this traumatic issue, and it is particularly important to re-approach the subject as high schoolers prepare to leave home and head into the sometimes-dangerous world.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), around 23 percent of undergraduate females will experience sexual assault, as well as around 5 percent of males. With those staggering numbers, it is necessary to inform students, whether they plan to attend college or not, on how to stay safe and try to prevent the unthinkable.

The more obvious forms of safety are seen in ways that your parents probably have already tried to preach: stay alert, don’t be glued to your phone while walking, stay in groups and be especially cautious at night. While these may seem evident, organizations like RAINN promote them, as well, and the simplicity of these tips makes it easy for anyone to become more aware and alert.

Another way to try to combat this epidemic is through awareness. On the University of Kansas’ campus, a visual demonstration can be seen to try to raise awareness to students and passersby.

Senior Alyssa Perry noticed the demonstration on an AP Biology field trip to the Kansas Natural History Museum on campus.

“I saw lots of little white flags in the ground that represented all of the women at KU who are victims of rape or attempted rape,” Perry said. “It was really powerful to see.”

There are also shirts being sold on campus that say “Jayhawks love consent” to help promote a positive culture.

While it is a positive thing that colleges are promoting sexual assault awareness, it is also important to acknowledge the issue in high school to better prepare students for possible dangers they might encounter. Although the subject is sensitive, high school students (especially seniors) can benefit from learning ways to protect themselves from dangers.

It would be beneficial to bring in someone who can talk about sexual assaultーa survivor, a representative from an awareness organization or anyone else who has helpful information to share.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to talk about sexual assault. Despite it being a scary and uncomfortable topic, it is a crucial conversation to have. If no one is available to you to talk with, have that conversation with yourself and research tips to stay safe. The month of April provides a spotlight to raise awareness for this issue, and it is a spotlight that everyone should take advantage of to educate them and their peers.