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Editorial: If you have been sexually assaulted, go to the police

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Nothing about sexual assault is easy or fun to talk about. It’s not easy to write about, either.

Our school is trying to do the right thing in telling police, telling the professionals when someone has been sexually assaulted.

It takes courage to come forward, to tell someone about something so awful and so intimate.  

But victims should go to the police. Go directly and fill out a report as soon as you can after the assault, do everything you can to give evidence so detectives can do what they’re trained to do. Don’t let what happened be nothing more than a statistic.

Victims play a vital role in the administration of justice in sexual assault cases. In many instances, the only witnesses are the accused and the accuser. If victims never report, they allow their assailants to go unpunished and potentially harm another person. 

If you decide later you don’t want to go to trial or cooperate further, that’s your own choice. You have that right, but don’t eliminate that option up front.

Your memory is better. Your testimony is stronger. Your voice can make a difference. Police detectives want to help you, but they can't if they don't have the information they need to conduct an investigation. 

People on our campus might consider sexual assault as something that's out of sight and out of mind. We know it happens but don't always think about whom it affects and how often it occurs until it happens again. We see the statistics but are left to worry how many go unreported.

So take that first step. Fill out a police report and cooperate with investigators. You might be understandably afraid of not being believed, but that fear can be overcome. Believe in yourself to the point that the system believes you. 

Justice starts with the courage to tell the police, the courage to tell someone who can hold accountable the people making college more dangerous than it should ever be.