If you ask Jennifer Williams, NCCU Women’s Center Director, she would explain the spike in reports of sexual assault as a “perfect storm.”
“Two years of being inside, on top of the anxiety to be outside, on top of dealing with this collective of students that we have that haven’t encountered a lot of maturation milestones that the generations before them had,” Williams added.
From 2018-2020, there were 25 reported cases of sexual assault on campus according to N.C. Central University’s annual security and safety report.
The Women’s Center sent out a mass email at the beginning of the 2022 school year warning students about an increase in reports of sexual assault on campus.
Former NCCU Education Coordinator Amber Esters said the lack of the typical social experience during the pandemic has led to less informed decision-making than usual.
“Many of these students haven’t been able to have experiences such as a senior skip day or a senior prom the past two years,” Esters explained. “That lack of learned social cues that you would typically pick up in high school or early college years -our students are coming in not having those things. So the uptick is a combination of a lot of different things.”
According to Esters, there is a “lack of understanding of autonomy and consent. And consent is about communication so there is also a lack of that.”
This issue is not specific to NCCU.
“Sexual assault is something that happens, I would argue on ALL college campuses,” Esters said.
Thirteen percent of all college students experience sexual assault, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
NCCU Title IX Coordinator Ciarra Joyner is adamant about the unique healing process for every survivor.
“The victim decides the process,” Joyner said. “Every individual that has experienced this will have a different idea of what is best for them.”
“There is no winner when it comes to sexual assault, even if the perpetrator is brought to justice. Sexual assault is the only crime where the victim will live with the scene for the rest of their lives because it happens to their bodies,” she added.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault on OR off campus, please use any of the resources listed above to receive the help and support that is needed.
The Women’s Center, which is located on the second floor of the new student union, is available during school hours and can be reached by phone at 919-530-6811.
Victims may contact NCCU’s Title IX coordinator, Ciarra Joyner, directly via phone at 919-530-7944 or email at [email protected].