Friday, April 18, 2014
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STAFF EDIT: Harmful harassment

Yet again, Boston University was the scene of an instance of inappropriate behavior toward a female student. According to an article published in The Daily Free Press today, on Sunday night a student was studying in the Mugar Memorial Library on campus. A male student –  someone she had never met before – proceeded to strike up a conversation with her. She began to feel slightly uncomfortable, and the male student retreated. Moments later, he approached the girl again from behind, and the police report stated he touched her stomach under her shirt.

This should go without saying, but that a female student can’t even study in a library space without fearing a stranger will grope her is completely unacceptable.

The term “rape culture” is constantly cited, we joke that exams and assignments “raped” us. Our desensitization to assault is more and more prevalent. In recent weeks, the university has been flooded with scandals regarding alleged rape, sexual assault and “peeping Tom” incidents. An enormous amount of media attention has surrounded the campus, and only a select number of BU students have taken action to ensure the debate is perpetuated through conversation between students and administration. Despite the intensity of public scrutiny, some students just haven’t gotten the message.

One can’t be certain whether this is a regular occurrence that has gone unreported before these scandals occurred, or if it’s another unfortunate instance highlighting the serious discrepancies in college culture. Alarmingly, we have no way of knowing whether such high profile cases of sexual assault were the only reason this incident was reported. The fact that minor incidents like these are more shocking than hearing about sexual assault on campus further proves there is a serious problem. Yet again, we are forced to ask: What can actually be done? How can you prevent college students – supposedly mature young adults – from acting so inappropriately?

This occurrence will fuel the fire of media scrutiny surrounding BU’s campus and community. Nevertheless, we can only hope devoting more attention to the issue of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault will allow victims to overcome their fear of social stigma and come forward with their experiences, consequently gaining access to help and support that will hopefully improve. With such an onslaught of cases, the administration can no longer ignore a societal problem that desperately needs to be addressed.

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