I am writing to provide feedback regarding the article “Reporting a Sexual Assault on Campus” that appeared in the print version of the Daily Titan on Feb. 13.
To begin with, I would like to thank the Daily Titan for addressing the issue of sexual assault on campus; a crime that many would argue is an epidemic locally, nationwide and globally. With that said, I am writing to express my disappointment as the aforementioned article contains a number of flaws.
1.The article appears in the “Sex” section of the “Sex Issue” of the paper. Equating sexual assault to sex is indeed problematic. The term “sex” implies consent–a willing exchange between partners. Sexual assault is a crime. Placing this particular article in that section of the newspaper creates an association, contributing to the normalization of sexual assault.
2.Broadcasting the location of Safe Place is unacceptable. It is difficult to imagine the possible implication to the safety of survivors, their friends and family, advocates, and staff. It is additionally disappointing to see a Captain of our University Police engaging in a public conversation regarding what should be a private and safe space for survivors; and for that to be printed for public consumption.
3.Paragraph No. 7 discusses Campus Security Authorities-the usage of the word “include” implies it is not an exhaustive list. If we are going to list folks who “are trained to guide people in the right direction,” why would we not choose to list them all? The article does not provide any information about “responsible employees” mandated to report information. According to the Clery report, “most university employees except treating physicians, licensed counselors and clergy must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about any Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking incidents of which they become aware.”
4.The article barely mentions confidentiality, and the context is not clear. Who can someone talk to on campus that is confidential? Does everyone have to report? Who can a survivor turn to: to listen; for confidential resources; to talk to while they figure out whether or not they want to formally report? That person is Alyssa Avila–her title is stated, yet her role in the context of confidentiality is not clear. Also, there is no mention of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which offers crisis counseling as well as counseling/therapy.
5.The resources list first mentions our Title IX coordinator, a curious choice given the content of the article. While the Title IX Office is indeed one proper resource to report a sexual assault to, it was not mentioned in the body of the article. An explanation of the office may have been helpful as many people are unaware of the role of Title IX in matters of sexual assault(s) on campus.
In regards to print copies, the damage is done–it has been distributed. At this point, I respectfully ask that the online copy of this article be removed from the Daily Titan website. I am basing this request on safety concerns. Safe Place needs to be exactly what the name implies: a safe place. Orange County’s survivors deserve compassion, consideration and a place to begin to heal. Regardless of whether the location can be found on the web, it certainly did not need to be broadcast to our campus and anyone else who might be reading.
MSW Student, CSUF School of Social Work