SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Sexual assault is a crime in Massachusetts, but it seems some college students are afraid to report these incidents. 22News found out what colleges in Western Massachusetts are doing to make students proactive and teach them what they can do to stop the violence.
California lawmakers are considering legislation to clarify what it means to give consent for sex. This has prompted other universities in western Massachusetts to also clarify their sexual harassment standards.
Some students don’t know the policies on their campus.
“I’ve never seen it myself and have to deal with it and confront it. That’s probably why I haven’t really learned more about it,” says Marcus Godin, a senior at Western New England University.
Most students have that mentality until something *does* happen, but even when it does, some students don’t know how to act to stop the violence. Different college campuses such as Western New England University are trying to teach their students what it means to be an active bystander, and that allows students to help each other out in a dangerous situation.
Western New England University Dean of Students, Jenne Hart-Steffes, believes in the importance of teaching students how to be proactive in a sexual harassment situations, and how to use their voice to report more of these incidents.
“Part of that bystander connection is taking care of each other in the community,” Hart-Steffes told 22News. “And it would be my hope that these enhanced efforts will really give us that next step into feeling comfortable coming forward at any point in time.”
Even if coming forward a little later would help one less student from getting hurt.
Danyelle Bigda, a senior at Western New England University, says “I think that maybe females that have previously had experiences with sexual harassment and sexual misconduct would help other females by reaching out and telling their stories.”
With these clarified codes of conducts, the campus hopes to have less of these stories. Students are always encouraged to come forward.