AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Sexual Assault: a crime that’s highly under reported, specifically on college campuses nationwide. Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill that would change how sexual assaults on college campuses are investigated.
Currently, university employees are not required to report conversations with students about sexual misconduct to authorities. HB 51 could change that.
“What we know, just the age group 18 to 24, sexual assault is pretty high, so what we want to do is to let students know no matter what happened, what they were doing that it wasn’t their fault,” explained Brittany Bean, a counselor at Augusta University. She said there’s a serious disconnect between sexual assault in colleges and feeling comfortable reporting it.
“I’ve had friends, female friends, who have detailed stuff like that, but they didn’t go into deep detail about it because I guess if they won’t talk to the police about it, they also probably won’t talk to me about it, being a man,” John Powell, an Augusta University student, said.
The Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault services and Augusta University have partnered for nearly twenty years to advocate this movement.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, so the first event kicked off Monday: The Clothes Line Project.
“A lot of t-shirts will have powerful messages such as ‘you are strong’ or just the simple word ‘believe’ to hopefully empower someone to come forward and gain support,” Bean explained.
“Just imagine after being forced to engage in an act that you did not want to engage in. You know, so the emotional effects on a women is just so profound. It can make her more anti-social and build anxiety and depression and make her feel shame for herself,” Powell said.
A representative at the Rape Crises and Sexual Assault services said if a victim has no memory of consenting due to alcohol or drugs, the act is illegal.
The crisis line is available 24 hours a day.