Girl power

A group of men and women walked through the campus chanting “What do we want? No more rape,” “No means no, yes means yes” and other chants Friday night. Heckled by fraternity members on G Street and drawing some confused looks from bystanders, they marched on to get out their message about the evils of rape and domestic violence. By drawing attention to a widespread problem more prevalent on college campuses than anywhere else, GW’s Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance is providing our campus with a valuable service.

Three sexual abuse cases have been reported to University Police this month. Although this number is higher than average, the numbers represent the severity of the problem. Statistics show that many more cases – as many as 84 percent of all cases – of sexual assault go unreported for several reasons, including fear for safety, lack of support and even denial. Groups like the FMLA provide women with resources and support to overcome the mental scars that sexual and physical abuse cause.

Some of the women who spoke at Friday’s Take Back the Night event said they feared reporting their sexual assaults because they felt they lacked support from parents and friends. It is a strong testament to the GW community that they have found that support here.

GW students are lucky to have an organization like the FMLA on campus that is dedicated to helping victims of these horrendous crimes and works to root out the causes. With an afternoon and evening full of events that support victims, including a T-Shirt art show, women are afforded the opportunity to express their feelings on a terrifying type of crime.

University Police also added to the event by hosting a self-defense presentation. Students should take up UPD’s offer to learn these important techniques by signing up for the Rape Aggression Defense program.

While the University provides services for victims such as a hotline for sexual assault victims and the Counseling Center, nothing is more valuable than a peer group to provide moral support during a difficult time.

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