CHAPEL HILL, NC — It is the fraught reality facing college women in America: nearly one in four female students will experience some form of unwanted sexual contact.
We’ve seen the headlines across the country. From Baylor to the case of Brock Turner at Stanford, to more recent cases this month at the Universities of North Carolina and Southern California.
Conversations about a so-called “rape culture” loom large on college campuses today, and these students at UNC know that all too well.
“On some of the posts, there were a lot of negative comments about her, saying that it wasn’t rape. And a lot of people went back and defended her, and it was really nice to see that while she was attacked, she was also defended very much so,” said one student.
“My group of friends, we noticed that when it comes to an athlete, it’s kind of like, people don’t talk about it,” said another.
But – these stories have made us wonder: have attacks increased or are more survivors coming forward to report their attacks?
“There’s just been more of a national spotlight on this issue,” said Allison Tombros Korman, who works with survivors of sexual assault at the Culture of Respect at NASPA. “We’ve seen many more survivors coming forward and I think that’s brought the nation’s focus on this issue”
In alleged assaults involving student athletes, victims’ advocates often blame university administrations and coaches, saying they can do more to prevent sexual assaults from happening.
It’s the thing that cost both Baylor’s football coach and president their jobs.
And it’s something University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones talked about during an investigation involving his program earlier this year.
“Just like a parent, you’re trying to educate them on great decisions,” said Jones. “And we always know..we call it the one-second rule. In one second, your life can change by one decision. And that’s life.”
And that is something we can all be reminded of from time to time.