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Over the semester, the University has sent out numerous emails about sexual assault incidents near and on campus. In the last year along many students have started to notice the significant amount of emails and not much about actions that have been taken afterward. This is a serious concern for many U of I students, especially women on campus because more women are reporting these incidents more than men. It makes many women and men afraid to speak up about their incidents because they see no change even when people are reporting their own incidents. Also, it shows a problem on campus and no further progression to help bring awareness to it, concern, and etc. to the problem at hand. Therefore, I decided to need to find better alternatives for security through technology on campus and ways to help survivors feel safe again.
The main goal is to ensure that sexual assault survivors were not reliving their experience and that their feelings were being taken into consideration. Also, that they feel safe and protected on campus. My alternative plan is unique and very different from the procedures that are commonly taken after someone reports a sexual assault incident. First, I wanted to find a way to make the process easier for survivors by having Social Workers to arrive with police officers when a person reports a sexual assault incident to make it less traumatic. However, I came to realize that it would be very hard to have Social Workers for each incident reported and could be a conflict of interest (can be used against the survivor if discloses anything to the Social worker before the policemen), and it wasn’t really involving the community. The idea should be something that would allow our community to come together and bring awareness to the seriousness of sexual assault on campus and the need for technology security present. This is when the idea of a care package came into our minds.
The idea was to have a simple care package box and fill it with resources for sexual assault survivors, therapeutic journals, mediation apps and strategies, notes and letters from other survivors, and creative saying inside the box. It was a way of showing that we, as a community, realize what the survivor has been through and that we are there for them through emotional and mental support. It also was a way to involve the community by helping to pack the boxes and come together for a greater cause. Knowing to stray away from scented things, certain foods, and activities that could trigger the survivor and avoid reliving their traumatic experience. The idea is very different from others because no one has done a care package before and especially not at any university. The idea of care packages is very personal also because this is someone that they can have in privacy, use whenever they want, and care packages usually give people the feeling of warmth and being loved. Also, it will help bring awareness to different security presences already on campus and suggestions on how to bring more.
This project is related to other programs on campus such as RACES and the Women’s Resource Center because they both deal with counseling, helping survivors, and being there for whatever is needed for survivors. These programs would take our care packages boxes and distribute them to sexual assault survivors. Then, over the years it will transfer to nearby schools and continue on. The outcomes that are expected from the care packages boxes are that many survivors see that they are supported, know of the resources available to them, show awareness of sexual assault, and unite communities together.
Sexual assault on college campuses is an immense and devastating problem. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men will experience sexual assault during their college careers. For every 1,000 students attending a university, it is estimated that 35 incidents of rape will occur each year. That means at a large school such as the University of Illinois, there would be almost 1,543 incidents each year. This is practically an epidemic.
Despite the immense occurrences of sexual assault, only about 5% of these are reported. This means a vast majority of survivors choose not to report. Survivors often indicate choosing not to report over a fear of being blamed, a belief that the police wouldn’t do anything to help, fear of not having enough evidence, and not wanting family/others to find out about what happened. This is in large part because our society has the tendency to victim blame. When sexual assault makes national headlines, people are quick to turn on the victim. Turning on victims often helps someone “justify” the crime to make themselves feel safer.
Furthermore, studies have found that a majority of men who commit rape are repeat offenders. In fact, the average number of sexual assaults committed by these offenders is 4.0. This displays the importance of reporting sexual assault. If more were reported, rapists wouldn’t get away with being repeat offenders.
If survivors were more aware of their options and the realities of the process, perhaps they would be more likely to report their assault. Furthermore, if they felt supported and believed by their communities, then they would feel more comfortable doing so Care Packages for the courageous supplies a survivor with both information about reporting and supportive message from their community to hopefully increase the likelihood of reporting.
However, many people feel that the idea of care packages for survivors will not have any impact on the change in the community and that they can be triggering for survivors. In addition, enforcing that more security presence is available on campus will not change the amount of sexual criminal crimes that happen on campus.
The care packages will help direct survivors to resources in a discreet manner, increase awareness of self-care techniques, and to provide solidarity through words of encouragement and support from fellow survivors. This is done through the care packages being distributed through RACES and the Women’s Resource Center. Each care package contains supportive messages, informational pamphlets about resources on campus, and items to help take care of themselves (such as stress balls and journals). The mission is to connect survivors to community resources by providing self-care techniques and support systems within their environment. The overall goal is to spread these care packages to survivors and help to rebuild that rapport with authorities and community resources.
Most people are unaware of the various types of criminal crimes that are reported on college campuses. Violent crime includes murder, assault, rape, and robbery, with assault generally amounting to over 75 percent of the incident another 15 percent. In 1991, for instance, there were more than 750 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the nation, but only about 64 per 100,000 students on campus. Statistics show 27 percent decrease since 1974 in violent crime on-campus (from 88 to 64 per 100,000), while the crime was increasing in the nation by 41 percent (from 460 to 758 per 100,000). The data for the individual crimes of homicide, assault, rape, and robbery are each relatively consistent with this overall trend — rising for the nation as a whole but falling on campus. As the world becomes more dangerous, campuses are becoming much safer. The findings are particularly interesting when considering that campuses are full of young people, and these are the ones that are more likely to become involved in crimes, whether as victims or as offenders.
The assumption is made that campuses are more likely to attract crime than to cause it. Data has shown that offenders are more present off-campus compared to on-campus. In order to inspect the influences of students, college campuses, and community characteristics on the crime rate, researchers take a look at different branches of higher education and criminal theory research. The framework that guides the model development includes two theoretical perspectives. Structural/functional perspectives from the organizational literature and criminal theory. Structural/functional viewpoint from organizational readings persuaded by researchers to give a bigger awareness to things that portray the influence of organizational features. Studies have shown that organizational size, wealth, technology, and environment impact the behavior and views of organizational members. Studies of colleges and universities, as particular sorts of organizations, have shown that campus mission statements, size, wealth, and selectivity apply to significant influences on a range of college outcomes like student merit, dreams, educational attainment, career development, and earnings. Volkwein has demonstrated that organizational characteristics tend to vary together and that other behaviors such as salary disparities and student loan defaults correlate with these measurements. I hypothesize that the influence of these campus characteristics has an impact on on-campus crime. Research on criminal behavior has created a series of theoretical perspectives through economic, psychological, cultural, social, and biological. Offenders are usually people wishing the community, if not within the student body itself. Their motivation to want to commit these crimes can range from an economic standpoint to a psychological mindset. Universities and colleges contain offenders as well and easily can find targets through vehicles: Uber app, door dash, car sharing, etc. Only certain schools can actually afford top-level and large security systems. Many violent crimes such as sexual crimes typically happen because of individual rooms being unlocked, underage drinking, unattended or poorly secured buildings, and perpetrators lurking. Colleges and universities are usually responsible for keeping students safe when they are on campus. It is an expectation from parents, community members, students, and even legislators that colleges are to do something regarding campus crimes. This is why the importance of college campus security and technology should be improved. University of Illinois U-C security measurements is SafeWalk, policemen surveillance, security cameras, and security of buildings. Buildings are secured through the usage of I-cards and having security cameras nearby. However, the security cameras that we have on campus are not always reliable and/or visible. SafeWalk is a very reliable source along with a security presence but it is not enough.
In conclusion, based on the research that I have done violent crimes are unfortunately bound to happen. Crimes occur everywhere for various of reasons from economic to psychological. There is no way that a university or college campus can stop it from happening. However, they can implement ways to help reduce crimes and make survivors feel much more comfortable reporting. The ways that our university can help to improve our technology system and security is by checking the cameras more frequently, ensuring that they are working properly, and placing SafeWalk or policemen in those areas where cameras are not present.
Having a greater presence and awareness to the community would help to reduce these types of crimes. Also, making sure that students and the community are understanding of dangerous areas, the amount of intoxication and etc., and their surroundings. It would help to build rapport with officers and those of authority figures within the community. Along with the care packages, the care packages would help survivors to feel comfort after a hordious experience such as being sexually assaulted. It will help to bridge the gap between survivors and the community to spread awareness of their process, improve reporting procedures, and even help with closure.
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