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OPINIONS: The #MeToo Movement and how to stay safe

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Z Saenz/SBS Tech/UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences | The Daily Wildcat

Then-freshman student Kirk Davis uses SafeRide’s old app, Transloc Rider, to order a SafeRide car on Sept. 30, 2016. With the passage of a recent City of Tucson ordinance, it is now a primary offence to use your hands to make a call with your cell phone.

On October 15, 2017, the #MeToo movement was born. Actress Alyssa Milano helped the movement first gain momentum by inspiring women around the world to use the hashtag. When the Harvey Weinstein scandal occurred, women began to feel supported when speaking out about their sexual assault allegations. Before the #MeToo movement, speaking out about sexual assault was a topic that seemed somewhat taboo to many. This has not only affected women assaulted by famous men, but college students as well. 

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At Harvard University, there was a 20 percent increase in complaints regarding sexual assaults in January alone. While this is a huge increase, many other colleges’ statistics regarding sexual crimes still remain fairly low. At the University of Arizona, “sexual assault increased to 24 from 18” in 2017. While the claims of sexual assault are still extremely low, these statistics do not mean these crimes are not being committed. There are still many individuals who feel as though they cannot speak out about these assaults in fear of being judged or, even worse, not believed. 

I decided to conduct my own Instagram survey of women at the UA who felt as though they could not speak out about feeling violated at parties or bars. Out of 104 people who voted in my survey, 85 percent of the women said they were afraid to say something, so they remained quiet at one time. 

This is obviously a heartbreaking statistic, but it is not only women that can do something about this cause. Lines can become blurred, but that does not mean one can overstep. It is the duty of everyone to keep an open eye for people who may need assistance. 

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Our UA Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, Kendal Washington White, expressed that Campus Health Services are doing their best to support these women and make sure students always feel secure in these situations.

"We are actively committed to facilitating a community where everyone can safely and constructively learn, work and play in a welcoming environment," Washington White said. "This requires all members of the campus community to pay attention, report concerns and look out for one another."  

It is important to know that if one ever feels uncomfortable in any situation, it is never “rude” to walk away. It is so important to report any suspicious activity to the UA campus police. It is prudent to note it is always justified to speak out about sexual assault. There are so many individuals that believe victims and assist them to the best of their ability. If someone ever worries about whether or not an assault was extreme enough, it is always best to report the incident. 

Some students under 21 may be worried about reporting crimes that involve consumption of alcohol. This should not dissuade any victim from reporting a sexual assault case. It is crucial to know the university is on the side of victims at all times and their safety and well-being come first.

Some very helpful resources available to students include UA’s LiveSafe app, which allow users to report incidents or crimes through the app; Psyche Services, via Campus Heath, and the SafeRide app


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