Violence against women is a huge problem in our country and the world in general that has been largely unremedied. Whether it be domestic abuse, sexual assault, rape, sexual assault in the military, or even elder assault, women are the victims of hundreds of thousands of assaults in this nation every year and we need to spread awareness and work to decrease this number.
As a college student, rape and sexual assault that occurs on college campuses is an important issue and a scary reality for many people that I know. One in five college women has been sexually assaulted while in college. One in Five. That’s 20 percent, and far too high. In 2014, “President Obama established a White House Task Force to protect students from sexual assaults,” but this did little to remedy this problem. The sad truth is that “women and girls nationwide experience about 270,000 rapes or sexual assaults annually.” More information on sexual assault against women and these facts can be found here.
Violence against women in not a new problem, but with technological advances and greater access to information which leads to more awareness, we should be able to act against this and put some solutions in place. Although nothing will solve this problem completely, we can certainly work to decrease the number of victims. Putting in place more safety stations where students are able to access a phone or press a help button that will alert the authorities and emit a loud sound to draw attention would be a good and relatively cheap start to lowering the number of asssaults that occur on campuses nationwide. It would not be hard for many colleges to put more of these kinds of stations in place in evenly spread locations throughout the campus.
Another potential solution would be closer parking options. In my experience with UNT, parking is a huge issue. According to a report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, over the past 25 years, more than 70 percent of college students have worked while attending school. The full report can be found here.
If we can assume that roughly half of those students are women, that’s 30-40 percent of all students who are women and have jobs in college. As a college student, most jobs that are available are in retail and food service which often cause employees to work shifts into the night hours. When you live on campus and don’t get back to your dorm until after dark, a close parking spot can be the difference between safety and danger. When I was a freshman and worked, we had parking right behind the dorm I lived in, so this was not an issue, but now due to greater volumes of commuter students and more buildings being built on campus, UNT forces residents to park in a parking lot all the way across campus. I believe this can be very unsafe for women walking back to their dorms alone late at night. This should be an saftety issue that is considered when parking regulations are made.
All in all, we need to recognize that while this is an issue that many have knowledge of, there is not much actually being done about it. It is up to us to push our schools and universities to become more cognizant of just how important their student’s safety is and to prioritize it.