At the risk of understating, I was disappointed with the Collegian’s “Letters from Ava” last week. The piece raised a great, though rather vague, question—“Where can I report something on campus?”—and denied readers any answer other than: “Don’t bother.”
It’s unfortunate that the writer had a bad experience with reporting procedures on campus, but I’m disturbed that this would lead to the suggestion that the hassle is never worth it.
While the article left the “something” to be reported ambiguous, I found myself immediately thinking of victims of sexual assault, which is already a vastly underreported crime. The Justice Department estimates that only 1 in 5 victims of sexual assault on college campuses report the incident to authorities.
Yes, the process to report any incident on campus is lengthy and emotionally exhausting. Yes, the victim and any witnesses will be asked many, many questions along the way, but without a clear picture of what occurred, further action cannot be fairly be taken. It might be frustrating, but I cannot and will not believe the stress and inconvenience outweighs justice.
I do agree with the “Letter from Ava” on one account—you are not alone. If you’ve been harmed on campus, there are others you know how you feel and resources to help. If you want to make our campus safer and keep what happened to you from happening to something else, you owe it to yourself and the rest of the SDSU community to speak up.
The number to contact University Police Department is (605) 688-5117. Community assistants, advisers, faculty members—anyone you feel you can trust on this campus is ready and willing to help with the reporting process.
You are not alone.