Linfield a shining light in the fight against Sexual Crimes

Elizabeth Stoeger

If the goal is to tear off the veil of secrecy from sexual crimes, Linfield has reached and exceeded it.

From the Consent Awareness Training Squad (CATS) to the “Think About It” online course, Linfield is taking admirable steps towards awareness and identification of sexual crimes.

In the first weeks of school, freshmen are inundated with speeches and programs that seek to bring the issue of sexual misconduct to the forefront. The subject is spoken about so frequently that students cannot help but be aware.

Linfield’s commitment to awareness shows in our statistics. In 2011, Linfield had a total of nine forcible sex offenses, according to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

Reed College, a four year, private college with almost the same number of students, totaled 16 forcible sexual offenses in the same year. Willamette University reported a total of 11 sexual crimes in 2011.

This awareness is achieved through the use of current technologies, like the mandatory online course, “Think About It.” This program combines helpful tips, short videos, and quizzes to show students the proper way to think about and react to sexual misconduct.

Often people do not report sexual crimes because they do not know what constitutes rape or sexual assault and sometimes wonder if they were a party to their own violation.

The online program, along with C.A.T.S., seeks to clarify the definition of sexual crimes in simple, easy to remember terms. The definition is in the student handbook but it is more effective to present it in an interactive way than simply making students read it.

Students are not sheltered at Linfield, but instead are confronted with the statistics and asked to play their part in preventing sexual crimes. Once students become educated about sexual misconduct, they are then able to raise public awareness and be prepared in social situations.

There is much talk about how supportive the Linfield community is, and it is precisely this reputation that sets it apart from other private colleges. People truly care about the well-being of each student.

That being said, there is still more we must do to eradicate the pain caused by sexual crimes.

It is alarming that 35 out of every 1,000 women could be the victim of rape, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. There is always room for improvement.

In 2012, there was only one reported sexual crime at Linfield. Though we have made great strides, the task is never done.

Linfield must remain an open and secure community with enough training to recognize, report, and eventually eliminate sexual offenses.

Elizabeth Stoeger