By Ellie Milton
From the moment college freshmen step on campus, they are warned about the dangers of rape and sexual assault. We have all heard the statistics; one in five college women will be raped by the time they graduate, and that number shrinks to one in three when you consider women in Greek sororities. But what many college students aren’t aware of is what’s known as the Red Zone. The Red Zone is the first six weeks of the semester; studies have shown that this is the time where freshmen women are most likely to be raped.
As an incoming freshman, the allure of fraternity parties and bars is almost constant; many students have never experienced a “party” scene, and are eager to explore the wonderful world of Natty Light and Franzia, while other students are more experienced but still want to have some good old-fashioned college fun. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out on a weekend; contrary to what many individuals seem to suggest, sexual assault is not caused by excess drinking (I’m looking at you, Brock Turner). Unfortunately, many sexual predators will use alcohol and drugs as a weapon against a potential victim. Everyone has heard the rules; don’t let your drink out of your sight, never accept a drink from someone, watch your drink being poured, the list goes on and on. The idea of college students drinking has never been the problem, it is the predatory environments in which the drinking takes place.
Of course, not every single fraternity house is breeding rapists; rape is the fault of only one person, and that is the rapist themselves. However, when there is little to no repercussions for rapists, the act is almost encouraged simply because one can get away with it. A 2007 study conducted by Loh et.al. showed that fraternity members are three times more likely to rape. So what is KU doing to educate its students about the red zone? The university has implicated several programs and campaigns to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus such as the “My Cup is Not My Consent” and “Jayhawks Love Consent” campaigns as well as Panhellenic/IFC sexual assault education. The Panhellenic Association has implicated a program called CARE sisters, a group of Greek women that are trained to provide support and education for fellow Greek women. Additionally, every KU student is required to take an Alcohol Edu class and a sexual assault education online program before the second semester.
No matter the amount of awareness and education provided by the university, rape and sexual violence on campus still happen at alarming rates. The Red Zone may soon be coming to a close, but that unfortunately does not mean that sexual assault will cease to occur. In the semesters to come, it is incredibly important to raise awareness and provide increased education to those on campus. Until the “one in five” statistic has been demolished, sexual assault will remain a huge threat on every college campus and requires attention throughout the school year, not just during the red zone time.