This past weekend was supposed to be a celebration. Friends came up, Lupe went off, and Keene State College welcomed spring in the only way it knows how, with its annual Spring Weekend coronation. Unfortunately, as we should already be acutely aware, this weekend was marred by one of the most ignorant and unforgiveable acts the campus has seen in years. On Friday morning, almost ironically coinciding with Saturday’s annual Walk a Mile sexual violence awareness event, two unidentified males sexually assaulted a staff worker in Carle Hall. Most of us, as callous as it may seem, went on with our weekends as planned, albeit not without the severity of the situation held both in mind and conversation.
Though much of the attention afforded to the crime, both in student and administrative circles, has been focused upon security, safety, and the grounding realization that this sort of atrocity can actually happen in what is otherwise considered quaint Keene, New Hampshire, there is, in fact, a more important understanding to be gathered. You see, especially when placed in the context of this weekend’s Walk a Mile program, we must, without forgetting the brutal reality of such a crime, attempt to view this positively.
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What can we possibly garner from such an event? What, if anything, can be learned? Well, we can take some shred of solace in the fact that this event was actually reported. As Director of Campus Safety, Amanda Warman, established in last week’s story “Sexual assaults go under-reported at KSC” sexual assault is the nation’s single most under reported crime. “We generally get anywhere from three to six reports a year and that includes rape,” Warman said, and in a college community of five thousand plus that number that speaks more to under-reportage than lack of incident. Thankfully, in light of this weekend’s outpouring of support and attention lent to the issue, spearheaded by the Walk a Mile program and this month’s identity as Sexual Assault Awareness month, we may actually be able to find tangible evidence of improvement in the reportage of this crime.
This by no means excuses any sexually abusive behavior, nor should it be viewed as an attempt to ease any victim’s suffering. The plain, simple, human reality is that this type of crime should never take place, never have to be reported, and never have to have space such as this devoted to its discussion. Unfortunately, there are still those who casually discard all trappings of decency, intellectually reduce themselves to an animalistic denominator, and willfully choose to destroy the lives of others. Disheartening, yes, that these individuals (a term that lends them too much credit) even exist, but if we, as a college and a community, can process the importance of this crime’s reportage, and subsequent visibility, KSC can at least say that it has again been given opportunity to learn.