Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victimWhat does sex have to do with the understanding and knowledge of sexual assault and rape on college campuses, especially here at Vanderbilt. Many people claim they know what sexual assault, sexual battery and rape are,but in reality, not many people know exactly what they all are. As incoming students we are required to do both Alcohol Edu and the PETSA module, but they are often seen as stupid things that get in the way of our last few days of summer vacation before going off to school. To add to this, if you do your PETSA module early enough, you may forget all about it by the time school even starts!
According to the FBI, the definition of rape is: penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Not many people could give you this exact answer when they are asked, and I think that could probably be a red flag. Also, this definition is somewhat geared towards male dominance- the definition could always be tweaked and loopholes can always be found. As we watched and listened to our classmates give their final group presentations, we saw definitions of rape and sexual assault that were more extensive than the one shown above from the FBI. When representatives of Project Safe came and spoke to our class, Kara beamed with pride as she spoke about the 23 page definition of rape she worked to come up with among other colleagues. No one is really going to read a 23 page definition of rape, as it most likely will be far too in depth and intricate for a reader of our age to sustain his or her attention.
I think that the topic of sexual assault and rape was one of the important topics we covered this semester because it is the topic we encounter most, especially in college, and it is a topic that frankly students know almost nothing about. Here at Vanderbilt, we have a program called Freshman Visions, and to be completely honest, I learned almost nothing by sitting in that class. No one spoke about the real thing everyone was concerned and had questions about: sex, rape, and nightlife. We spoke about classes every week, and the same answers were repeated every time. Not once did we talk about rape or anything regarding sexual education and safety… not once! For the future, I think it should be that all freshman must go through a class similar to Visions, but instead have it be regarding the topics of sex, rape and sexual assault awareness, and night/ weekend life safety. I feel that people here need to be more educated about such serious and relevant topics, and a program like I just brought up would serve a much greater purpose and would resonate a lot better than visions would.