No one will argue that sexual assault survivors need to fear their attackers, but sexual assault and college has become a cliché topic in the media. There’s the now questionable Rolling Stone article about a UVA student’s supposed rape, last week’s NPR On Point segment, and still the outpour continues. But the question lingers, just why is sexual assault on college campuses a topic that just won’t get away?
The way sexual assault is handled in this country, state and university is problematic. All too often it is easy to fall into victim blaming. She was asking for it, she wore that dress, she drank too much, they had sex before or she was leading him on. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and it’s time to allow even more victims to come out of the closet to seek justice, instead of living in fear of shame or worse yet that it could happen again.
Wyoming does not have protection orders for survivors of sexual assault.
The proposed Wyoming House Bill 17 seeks to give survivors a temporary order of protection from their attacker. Monday the Senate heard from police officers and sexual assault victims, as reported in the Casper Star Tribune and other news outlets. Sadly the bill was amended by the House to change the protection time from one year to three months. One survivor said that the three months change would not help her once her attacker is released.
As a University of Wyoming student, as a female who wishes to walk around Laramie and to and to and from class without fear, I urge the Senate to reinstate the original one year of protection. If sexual assault happens then please show that the law is on our side, sending the message loud and clear that this kind of behavior is not tolerated.
Sexual assault is a complicated, confusing and overall heartbreaking topic. It’s about time that survivors in Wyoming can get the legally granted protection that says once and for all it’s not their fault and be able to live their life without fear.