The Tuscaloosa community should bring more awareness to sexual assault

Amber Boswell, Staff Columnist

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Sexual assault is a serious issue in society that often goes unreported. It includes any unwanted sexual activity, from unwanted touching to rape. Tuscaloosa is a college town and the city is growing each year as more and more students enroll at the University of Alabama. The city should bring more awareness to sexual assaults to reduce their frequency.

First, the city of Tuscaloosa should educate citizens about sexual assault. Many citizens are not properly educated about this issue. The high proportion of sexual assault occurrences is the reason citizens should be properly educated about this issue; in fact, according to the results from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey released in 2014, “nearly one in five women has experienced rape or an attempted rape in her lifetime.”

Women are not the only victims of sexual assault. The CDC also states, “Studies show that one in six men experiences some form of unwanted or abusive sexual experience in his lifetime, as well.” Sexual assault heavily impacts the lives of both men and women.

In some instances, the person who has been sexually assaulted knows their attacker. Individuals who experienced sexual assault often times struggle with depression, stress, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The Tuscaloosa County should provide vital information and resources on sexual violence.

Furthermore, the Tuscaloosa community could hold events to bring more awareness pertaining to sexual assault. The events would bring the community together around the issue and help victims feel comfortable speaking up and reaching out to members of the community. During this time, the community can promote some of the establishments that serves as safe havens for people who have experienced sexual assault.

For example, the SAFE Center is an establishment in Tuscaloosa. The mission of this center is to “provide a compassionate, patient-centered environment for sexual assault forensic examinations.” The community can provide resources to the community by the use of social media. This will inform citizens about what they could do and where they could go if they have ever been sexually assaulted. The city needs more resources like SAFE so that all of the people in Tuscaloosa who are victims of sexual assault can get the proper care they need.

Lastly, when a person comes forward about being sexually assaulted, it is up to the city to take the proper measures for the person to feel safe and secure. Communication and understanding is the key; most times when a person who has been sexually assaulted reports the incident, nothing happens. The victim is left to cope with this devastating experience.

The Tuscaloosa community should take stronger measures to make citizens feel more safe and protected and should provide more information for the people who have experienced sexual abuse.

Tuscaloosa is a growing city, and as the city grows, the rate of sexual assaults that occur in the city soar. Sexual assaults are no joke and can heavily impact the lives of people all around the world, regardless of gender. The city of Tuscaloosa should come together to crack down on the frequent sexual assaults.