The Oakland Post

Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

Shelby Tankersley, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The first few months of 2018 have set the tone for a year characterized by speaking up. Larry Nassar was put behind bars after over 150 survivors of his crimes spoke up, #MeToo and #TimesUp rocked social media, stronger gun legislation is being called for and activism is alive everywhere.

Perhaps 2018 will see an increase in sexual assault and harassment as well. As it stands, it’s estimated that only 1/3 of sexual assaults are reported to police and only 20 percent of college-aged women are likely to report being sexually assaulted, according to RAINN.

Since the fall semester of 2014, Oakland University has seen 11 reported sexual assaults, two of which were classified as rape and several involve attempted rape or sexual activity that was the result of one party being pressured, according to the Oakland University Police Department’s records. The majority are classified as “forcible contact,” which usually involves one party making unwanted advances toward the other. Especially with Oakland’s recent ranking as the second safest school in the United States, assaults don’t appear to be all that common on campus.

But as University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz said in January, “We would never say there are not things happening here.”

When students report a sexual assault on campus, there are a number of ways to have their voices heard. Survivors can go on or off the record and, if on the record, can decide whether or not they want to press charges. OUPD accepts reports over the phone or in person, and every officer is trained in trauma and are comfortable talking to survivors.

“It’s driven by the person that’s reporting,” said OUPD Detective Shona Collins. “It’s how they want things to move forward. The only protocol we have on that is if we write anything up on that case, we have to take it to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office even if charges aren’t being pressed just so we can keep everything.”

Collins said that although OUPD’s role is to stay objective and find the truth of the matter, the department’s first step is to trust the person reporting and help them feel comfortable talking about whatever happened. Collins says that reporting both helps the survivor and potential future survivors.

“The majority of perpetrators do it again,” she said. “If people don’t report it, the likelihood that they’ll do it to someone else gets higher.”

Survivors are also given access to healthcare resources, counseling and guidance from the Dean of Students. Even if students experienced something off-campus, OUPD is willing to connect students with the correct police department.

“At the very minimum, someone should get counseling,” Collins said. “Eating disorders, alcohol abuse, promiscuous behavior… Some people don’t have trouble, but the majority do. To meet it head on and start working through all of it is the best policy.”

Collins also pointed to additional resources such as OUPD’s Rape Aggression Defense course, HAVEN in Pontiac and the Graham Counseling Center on campus as tools people can use to educate and take precautions to protect themselves.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    On-campus student work hours increase

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    Detroit becomes a hub for access to OU

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    BOT approves new Bachelor of Music in Music Technology

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    OU encourages faculty to get more involved with hybrid learning

  • Campus

    Board of Trustees approves a 3.8 percent increase in tuition

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    Roots, wings and growth celebrated at Presidential Inauguration

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    Motors Club hosts Moonlight Motors Meet

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    Writing and Rhetoric Department hosts 14th biannual Writing Marathon

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    Police Files April 11, 2018

  • Reporting sexual assault in the year of speaking up

    Campus

    2018 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference seeks to leverage diversity

Oakland University's independent student newspaper.