Sexual assault was the topic of Thursday’s the WSU Police: Face to Face Forum in the CUB Lair. This was the third Face to Face Forum of the year.
WSU Police Chief Bill Gardner opened the forum speaking about the importance of clarity in communication regarding intimate relationships.
“Clarity is one of the most important things to teach when it comes to relationships,” Gardner said. “A recommendation is to think about what you are going to say, and how clear your point is before speaking.”
He said when emotions run high, so does ambiguity, which can cause uncertainty in the relationship’s communication.
Susan Simonds, a sexual response coordinator at WSU Counseling Services, said one in four females and one in six males are likely to experience a sexual assault or an attempt at sexual assault in their life.
“Sometimes victims—or survivors, don’t want to talk about it, feel ashamed or fear they will be judged by their peers,” Simonds said. “The WSU Counseling Services provide confidential counseling, services and offer resources available.”
Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Raúl Sánchez spoke about previous cases of sexual assault he had worked on. He said of all the cases he worked on the past five to six months with sexual assault, only one case didn’t involve alcohol.
“Don’t have sex with drunk people,” Sánchez said. “Drunk people can give consent, but the pattern of alcohol being involved has been exhaustingly the same.”
Sánchez said there are misplaced loyalties in sexual assault investigations. The people interviewed don’t usually have a good memory from two weeks, sometimes on purpose trying to protect people, he said.
“All of that is morally and legally and policy-wise absolutely reprehensible, but people need to have moral will to be able to identify that,” Sánchez said. “It’s easy to be anonymous and not do the right thing, and that’s what people often do.”
Gardner said men are the ones who perpetrate this crime and there needs to be support from men. Sánchez agreed and said men need to step up and tell their friends to stop if they think something wrong may occur afterward.
Audience member Rachel Hayes thinks it is a great thing that the issue of sexual assault is being brought up on campus.
“It is an issue on campus, and people may know its an issue and not know what to do about it,” Hayes said. “The forum helps students understand how they can help stop the issue and also get to know police officers and realize they are more concerned with their safety then getting them into trouble.”