Campus no longer feels safe for women

Elizabeth Cardenas, News Editor

The past two sexual offenses on campus have instilled within me a fear of walking around De Anza College alone.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, from 2010 to 2012 De Anza College reported zero sex offenses. Within the 2013 to 2014 school year there have been two reported sex offenses.

At the end of fall quarter 2013, alleged sexual assaulter Johnny haunted my mind as I walked throughout campus.  After the report about the molestation of a young woman was released and the public was informed that the assailant had not been caught, I avoided using campus bathrooms.

If I was brave enough to use a campus bathroom, the thought of Johnny sexually assaulting me crawled up my spine.

To this day, I refuse to use the Media Learning Center women’s bathroom and this makes things complicated when I am sitting in class in the MLC.  I would rather walk to another bathroom than use the one in the MLC.

This quarter, another young woman reported being sexually assaulted after a man touched her inappropriately. The man then returned weeks later and threatened her with a knife.

These two sexual offenses on campus are inexcusable and unjustifiable.

As a young woman, I walk through the world with the fear in the back of my mind that I might be sexually assaulted.

Nearly one in five women reported being raped at some time in their lives and one in 20 women experienced sexual violence other than rape, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The fear of being sexually assaulted should not be reinstalled when I walk through the campus.

While some efforts are being made around campus, more needs to be done to protect students from sexual offenses and to help students overcome the sexual offense they experienced.

When I walk through campus late at night, there is minimal lighting and not a single campus police officer in sight.

Things like more lighting on campus and easier accessibility to campus police would make a difference. It would also make for a much more comfortable walk.

The opening of a “sexualities, gender and women’s center,” scheduled for fall quarter 2014, is an extraordinary step in the right direction because one of the center’s focuses will be helping students handle sexual assaults.

Efforts like this will help students feel safer and more comfortable on campus.

A campus is supposed to be a place where I should be able to use the bathroom without the fear that I will be followed inside and sexually assaulted. A campus is supposed to be a place where I should be able to peacefully sit on a bench day or night without fear of a being inappropriately touched and having a knife pointed at me.