Stomp out sexual assault

By Thunderworld Staff

The way sexual assault is dealt with in this country needs to be addressed.

It is a widespread crime that has an impact on us all, either from first-hand experience or someone else, we all know someone affected.

From private conversations with family, to public posts on social media, men must hold each other accountable.

Once again, sexual assault is in the forefront of America's collective conscious with an avalanche of allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfacing last week.

He was a successful American movie producer co-founding both Miramax Films as well as The Weinstein Co. and is known for being involved with popular movies such as Clerks and Pulp Fiction.

The New York Times broke a story alleging Weinstein's sexual misconduct involving more than 40 women and spanning from at least 1984 to 2015 including several sexual harassments, exposing himself, five accusations of sexual assault as well as incidents that couldn't be run in their report.

Whether he is found guilty or not, the familiar sequence of events leading to a large number of women accusing their attacker sheds some light on how these situations should be dealt with in the future.

Only 310 rapes of every 1,000 in this country are reported to law enforcement, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, which is America's largest anti-sexual violence organization. It also says only six of those reports led to an arrest.

It is much easier said than done for a victim of assault to report their abuser. Often times the victim feels ashamed, guilty, or as if their abuser has power over the situation — which can easily be the case.

These feelings are amplified by the way society sees and responds to sexual assault.

Comedians tell rape jokes. Women are blamed for what they were wearing when the assault occurred. The victim's credibility is called into question as fast as the story breaks.

As a society, we are the ones who hand this power to abusers whenever we don't take sexual crimes seriously.

And there is ample evidence of this.

Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer was convicted of three felony sex crimes after he raped a blacked-out student behind a dumpster at a frat party.

The judge, who was also a Stanford athlete, sentenced him to only six months in jail—Turner served three.

Roger Ailes, who became the CEO of Fox News in 1996, abused women throughout his 20-year tenure at Fox News.

When accused of sexual misconduct in 2014, it wasn't taken seriously until more reports started coming out about Ailes in 2016.

He was given an ultimatum to either resign or be fired in 2016, he died a year later.

One of the hard parts about discussing sexual assault is figuring out where to start the conversation.

Like the number of abusers who go free, the number of issues surrounding this massive problem in America could fill an inconceivable number of pages.

When faced with such a large problem, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating just to find the space to begin to rectify the issue.

The easiest place to start is with perception, it shouldn't be perceived as a subject to make jokes about, it shouldn't be blamed on the actions or clothes of the victims, and most of all, it shouldn't be approached without empathy.

We must treat victims with the same respect and grace we would extend to our own loved ones.

This is a conversation we must all have—now.

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Suicide Stopped

An alert Highline staff member and local public safety officers helped stop a potential suicide on campus last week. While a staff member was working, he noticed a suspicious male wandering the East Lot around 6:25 a.m. May 25. The staff worker called Highline Public Safety who responded to find the individual running around with a rope in his hands, looking for a place to possibly hang himself. This prompted Public Safety to contact Des Moines Police and South King County Fire and Rescue. By the time first responders came to the scene, the distraught man climbed into a tree near Building 99, ready to use the rope on himself. First responders talked to the man, successfully convincing him to come down from the tree. After the turmoil settled the individual was transported to a nearby hospital for an evaluation. Sgt. George Curtis of Public Safety said this was the first time he has encountered someone attempting to endanger their own life on campus.

Staff member passes out

Public Safety said the actions of the staff member who reported the incident is an excellent example of how “see something, say something” could potentially save a life. A staff member was reported to have passed out in Building 4 at 8:10 a.m. The person was sitting in their chair when they lost consciousness, then fell out, hitting their head on the ground. Public Safety arrived but the staff member refused any medical treatment.

Late night fast food runs a no-no

A suspicious car was spotted on campus at 1:35 a.m. on May 28 by a Public Safety officer. The car was occupied by two students and parked between buildings 29 and 22. The two students had gone to Jack in the Box and decided to eat the fast food on campus. They were told by the officer to leave because campus was closed.

Learn all about Safe Zones

Allies of the LGBTQIA community along with faculty and staff will be hosting a Safe Zones training program, next month. Safe Zones is a program identifying individuals in the school community who are safe and supportive allies of LGTBQIA students and faculty. The Safe Zones training is put on by Highline’s Multicultural Affairs organization. The program is about learning more about the queer community and to build skills to use on the Highline campus and out in other communities. The LGBTQIA Taskforce has been working on creating a basic curriculum for the Safe Zones training that not only provides information that may seem basic or simple. Anyone is welcome to the Safe Zones training. The training will be June 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Writing Center, Building 26 room 319i.

Annual Vicom Portfolio Show is next week

Highline is hosting its annual portfolio show next week. Design students will show off their work and achievements on June 5 - 6. The show is in Building 8, Mt. Olympus room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

Faculty awards nominations due

The annual vote for Highline’s Outstanding Faculty Awards has been extended June 5. The Highline College Foundation provides two $1,500 awards to be presented to Highline College’s Outstanding Faculty of the Year. Nominations can be made by any student, staff member, faculty member or administrator of Highline. A person may make only one nomination for each award. Further detainominations need to consist of written statements from both the nominator and then a second reference that gives specific emphasis to the nominee’s contribution to education at Highline. Nominations need to be submitted to the Selection Committee in the Office of Instruction, Mailstop 9-2, by 5 p.m. on June 5.

It's time to get ready for the big one

Stomp out sexual assault

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