A docuseries surrounding allegations against Robert Sylvester Kelly, famously known as R. Kelly, was released on Jan. 3. These allegations were centered around sexual abuse and pedophilia, as most of the alleged victims ranged between the ages of 13 and 17.
Since the series aired, there has been an uproar on social media about the mistreatment of victims, specifically young black women and how people tend to discount their experiences with sexual violence.
The allegations against R. Kelly makes this a high profile situation because of his status in the entertainment industry, but there are lower profile, yet still important, cases surrounding sexual assault and violence on college campuses.
These higher education institutions have seemingly been plagued with incidents of sexual assault.
Just recently, Jacob Anderson, a former student at Baylor University, was indicted on sexual assault charges after a girl accused of him of drugging and repeatedly raping her at a fraternity party. Anderson took a plea deal in the case to lesser charges which only landed him with probation, counseling and a $400 fine. Anderson will not be forced to register as a sex offender.
There are even more R. Kellys and Andersons in college campuses across the world including, but not limited to, Stanford University, Howard University, Yale University, University of Texas at Austin and even right here at Grambling State University.
According to GSU’s Annual Security Report, there has been an increase in forcible sexual offenses on GSU’s campus. In 2015, there was one reported offense, in 2016, there were three reported offenses, and in 2017, there were four.
Further, when looking at domestic violence, the number of reported domestic violence cases decreased from three to one from 2016 to 2017. Reported dating violence incidents stayed the same at one per year from 2016 to 2017, and reported stalking incidents increased to two in 2017.
Although the statistics are not fully reported for 2018, the following cases were reported last year in 2018: one case of off-campus sexual battery in October, two cases in September classified as sexual battery/forcible rape, and simple rape/forcible offense, one case classified as forcible rape in July, one case of domestic abuse in May, three cases of domestic abuse battery in March and one case of stalking in January.
These are nine reported instances of sexual violence on GSU’s campus.
GSU held a forum in 2017 where on-campus sexual assault was addressed. However, some students have questioned why the forum did spoke little about the accountability of aggressors and there has been seemingly little to no awareness surrounding sexual violence on campus.
A junior majoring in criminal justice, who requetsted anonymity, said that after that seminar, she felt as if her voice on GSU’s campus has no value.
“The meeting just made me want to be quiet,” she said.
Another student, who also requested anonymity, said that she does feel safe with the increase in safety precautions.
“I see policemen out all the time, so it makes me feel safer,” she said.
GSU administration did not respond to requests for comment as of press time for this story.
Whether it be surviving R. Kelly, or surviving predators at GSU, this epidemic of sexual violence amongst women is no longer going away silently. Women and allies are taking a stand against sexual violence and assault.
On campus, the Student Counseling & Wellness Resource Center is available to assist students who are victims of sexual violence.
For more information, you can visit the Student Counseling & Wellness Center next to Foster Johnson Health Center.