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Editorial: 2017-11-17

Recently, handfuls of men and women have come forward to accuse actors and producers in Hollywood of sexual assault. Kevin Spacey trended on Twitter for a day, followed by Louis C.K. Then they disappeared. Even President Trump has been accused of sexual harassment and assault – and yet, he was still elected last November.

That is because sexual assault has become a normalized crime in today’s society.

In the annual security and fire safety report BUPD released in September, the number of reports of rape and fondling increased by 150 percent and 300 percent respectively.

According to BUPD Chief Brian Joschko, we can’t be sure if these increased numbers are because students are feeling more comfortable coming to their administrators and officers to report sexual assault or if these crimes have increased on campus in the last year.

What we can be sure about is that although an increase in reports of these crimes does not solve the issue of sexual assault, it can perhaps lead to awareness and recognition of the problem.

But in the past month, this has become an even more dominant topic within conversation. The culture of sexual assault remains prevalent within society.

Those who come forward with their stories – whether they speak out about the Hollywood elite, professional athletes or even college classmates – are catalysts for others. This increase in reports causes an increase in conversation, in Hollywood as well as at Bradley.

People will still get away with sexual harassment, in the same way people will still get away with running stop signs at empty intersections. It either goes unnoticed or ignored.

But with the creation of Students Against Sexual Assault, SASA, on campus this semester and the efforts toward educating students through events in April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we do see a positive change happening at Bradley.

We can work to end sexual assault at Bradley by continuing the conversation on campus. By attending educational events. By actively avoiding problematic behavior and language. By listening.

The efforts Bradley has made toward educating students about sexual assault has been a great stride forward, but there needs to be more. Sexual assault does not just happen in a single month – so we need more educational events outside of April. The awareness needs to continue throughout the year, and we hope Bradley continues this conversation.

Ignorance has never been and will never be an excuse to let sexual assault happen.