Guest column: Student finds startling information in sexual assault research at Gannon


Last week I was assigned to do a presentation on the topic of sexual assaults on college campuses for class. After being given this assignment, I proceeded to start my research and immediately came across some interesting facts.

One of the more interesting facts I found was that only about 50 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses are reported. This is due to the victim feeling that their experience “wasn’t serious enough.”

Curious about the campus we are on, I decided to look up Gannon’s crime log. I didn’t think I would find anything considering I have never been informed of any occurrences and it is our university’s policy to email the Gannon community if there are any incidences that threaten our safety.

What I stumbled upon left me baffled. Not only had I come across sexual assault cases, I came to find that there have been seven of them since January of 2015.

Four of the cases logged happened within the first two months of the current academic year and two of them are rape cases.

Considering the fact that only about half of sexual assaults are reported, have there been more than just those seven on our campus? I immediately felt a heap of mixed emotions.

I was shocked. I was angry and I felt disappointed. I was shocked to find out that these horrible events are occurring on our very own campus. I am angry for the reason that I was never informed of these cases.

I’ve been attending this university for almost three and a half years now. I trust this university and I feel extremely comfortable and safe here.

Because of my faith in the school, I am disappointed that these events are not being communicated to us. The university does an excellent job communicating with us about so many things. Why isn’t it informing us about these very serious and dangerous situations that our fellow peers are being put into?

As members of the Gannon community we receive notifications when a retired professor’s family member passes away, yet we aren’t being informed when something that is threatening to our safety occurs? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

As a society, we brush these types of events under the rug because we find them uncomfortable or offensive to talk about. But if we aren’t talking about them and informing those who could be victimized, we are practically condoning it.

Sharing this information is not only vital for potential victims, but is vital for offenders to see it being noticed as well. Without any attention or repercussion, offenders will continue to think that it is OK or that there are no consequences to this horrific act.

I understand that Gannon’s reputation could be on the line if it were to publicize this information, but it isn’t like the media needs to be involved. All I am asking for is that we as students, faculty and staff are informed of these occurrences so that we may take the precautions necessary to keep ourselves safe.

I ask that there are repercussions for offenders and that those ill-treated in these acts receive proper guidance and help after going through such a traumatizing experience.

[email protected]