Students should demand stricter punishments for sexual assaulters
There have been three incidents this summer of sexual assault, and all of them have gone unsolved. It is amazing that the police have so few leads about the assaults that have occurred this summer. Were there really no witnesses? When things like this happen, silence can be just as violent as the crime.
For those of you who liken this column to a broken record playing, sit and think for a minute. Most statistics say that one out of four college women will be raped. That one woman could be your girlfriend, your sister, or your best friend.
If you type in "Anwar Phillips" in Yahoo's search engine, quite a few results will appear. Graham Spanier's words on the incident are well-documented on the Internet, as is Joe Paterno's silence. One link that shows up is a cnnsi.com tracker of Phillips' play for the 2003 school year. Obviously, there are zeroes across the board, and if Penn State University is as just as it claims to be, his standings will remain that way.
When the ugly truth came out in April that the nickleback had admitted to assaulting a woman, the general response from students wasn't nearly as outraged as it should have been.
Phillips was slapped on the wrist with a two-semester expulsion, and has the opportunity to return to Penn State in the fall.
If he does return, his punishment includes missing ZERO football games. It is an embarrassment to the university that our "just" judicial system would allow this to happen.
And since the occurrence, nothing has been done. Phillips won't speak to the press, Paterno still won't comment and an alleged sexual assaulter can come back to PSU in the fall. Granted, he hasn't been convicted in court yet, but shouldn't anyone who has allegedly done this type of crime be forced away from here until he is or isn't?
Every time a woman is raped at Penn State, the same response occurs: how terrible, we must find the perpetrators, etc.
A very nice woman on the line from Judicial Affairs explained to me that the reason the expulsion is for two semesters and not permanent is because a more severe punishment might keep victims silent. A lot of victims don't want their assaulter's life to be greatly affected. Instead they would like them to get counseling.
That answer made more sense to me than anything I have heard before, but I, for one, have a hard time understanding why someone who admitted that he assaulted a woman is allowed back on this campus. The leaders of this school would like us to believe that they are very dedicated to making this campus as safe as possible. Ah, but the shepherds are willing to let alleged wolves frolic in the pasture.
Since this school thinks that it is okay to let someone like Anwar Phillips back into the university, maybe we should all be very educated about how to respond in case someone like him attacks someone like you.
From what people say, the State College Police Department is excellent when it comes to rape cases.
They are sensitive toward the victim, and they are very thorough in their investigation.
There are a number of resources on campus available for people who have been assaulted such as the Center for Women Students, Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and, of course, University Health Services.
Not enough students use the assets we have. The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is our mouth to an organization such as Judicial Affairs. If you are interested in seeing a rule changed, don't just sit there- do something about it.
Let USG know how you feel, and if they do their job correctly, your voice will be heard. Do you want harsher penalties for sexual assaulters? Then tell your student representatives -- demand that they fight for a change.
All lines of communication at this school need to be used more often. I found that by making one phone call, a lot of my questions were answered, and my opinion was even changed.
You all need to get more involved too. This is your school, your money, your blue and white.
I'm sure none of us want the blue and white to be donned by an alleged sexual assaulter.
Loren Ferguson is a senior majoring in English and is a Daily Collegian columnist. Her e-mail address is [email protected]