Take sexual assault seriously

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Haidar is a junior majoring in journalism.

Top down efforts to enact permanent change don’t work.

When it comes to sexual assault on campus, sexual assault in the workplace or just plain sexual assault – we’re facing a systemic issue that can’t be wished away by
piece-meal bureaucratization.

What we’re seeing with the recent opening of a federal investigation against 55 universities (SMU having the honor of a place on the list) is that the idea of setting up task forces and cobbling together trustees to work on a grassroots crisis is bunk.

I’ve written about SMU’s (failed) efforts to curb sexual assaults before, and my recommendation remains the same: we need to encourage student-side accountability and peer-level checks and balances to combat sexual assault of
any kind.

That is, we need to hold each other responsible for our actions and discourage the antagonistic mindset that leads ordinary people to commit extraordinarily terrible deeds.

Accepting 41 recommendations (all made by people with the same vested interested in SMU’s reputation) isn’t enacting change; it’s the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and yelling to drown out something you don’t want to hear.

Which is that we have a problem. A big one.

Whether it’s male on female, male on male or female on female is irrelevant: Mustangs don’t take sexual assault seriously enough, and until we deal with our cultural crisis, all administrative pushes to curb the issue will peter out once headlines start to fade.

In a word: more red tape won’t stop rape.

Only we, as a cohesive student body, can take progressive steps toward our own self-betterment.

I’m afraid, though, that the differences and divides on our campus won’t allow
for self-healing.

I’m afraid that I’m leaving campus this May a worse place than it was when I came here in 2011.

I’m afraid this isn’t a problem we can solve in the regular ways: throwing money at the issue and huddling together in nicely organized groups of well-dressed, soft-spoken professionals to make ourselves feel warm on the inside for doing something rather than nothing.

In this case, doing something is a crime when it’s the wrong thing.

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