Sierra Luna, Sarah Venta, Tylondra Smith, Jacob Plumb, Brandon Ayers
One of the biggest issues the nation struggles to face is sexual violence. There is a clear lack of cultural consensus about sex and consent. To be able to understand the problem there has to be a clear definition. Consent is permission for sexual activity to happen from all parties. Unfortunately, 98 percent of rape survivors that are incapacitated don’t report being assaulted and 87 percent of rape survivors don’t report being assaulted (Unomaha Gender and Sexuality Resources). There has been little awareness of sex and consent over the years while the number of sexual assaults steadily increases. Raising awareness is not only the first step to break barriers and removes blinds and show who is affected by sexual assault but also shows survivors what legal actions can be taken, working alongside police to get justice using rape kits and finally what resources that they have start their journey toward healing.
Over about half of a spring semester was spent researching the topic of sex and consent while collecting data over it and trying to filter through to find patterns. Several findings came out of this research and data collection revealing patterns in regard to sex and consent specific to Omaha, Nebraska. Collecting data specifically from Omaha was important in order to focus on a more narrowed down population of people to be able to really focus on patterns. Since the data was collected about the same place, finding vital patterns was made a little easier. Sources were collected about Omaha, Nebraska and read through carefully and thoroughly. Once Patterns were detected, it was easy to realize problems facing the community as a whole that may not have been so clear without dissecting and reading through all these sources specific to Omaha. To be able to organize data, a coding table was made which is a table with all sources listed, subtopics listed, and information from the sources filtered into the subtopics sections. By doing this it became more clear how Omaha is really affected by the topic of Sex and Consent and sexual violence. Once this was done, findings and sources were analyzed to come up with a conclusion of how Omaha is truly affected.
Through research it was discovered that there are several different aspects of problems and themes in the Omaha community regarding sex and consent. One of these is laws being reformed and improved on due to mistreatment of victims cases in the past. For example, there are new laws put into place on how rape kits are handled and the victims rights to the results and whether or not they want to press charges. Even with progress being made, those in marginalized groups are still at a higher risk of sexual assault and harassment, with those in education and law enforcement setting a dangerous precedent disregarding marginalized groups right to sexual consent. Education could prevent assault and harassment but sexual education is not the main concern of the Omaha Public School curriculum. In the end however, it seems that people do not discuss or often educate on consent and what it means and why it is important. Worrying about the after effects would not matter if people were more concerned with teaching consent.
When it comes to rape and consent, the legalities involved with the topic are very important. First, knowing the legal definitions of affirmative consent, freely given consent, and capacity to consent, which vary by state, is a necessity when understanding right from wrong. Secondly, the outcome of court rulings that involve rape and consent impact not only the general populations’ understanding of rape, but also rape culture. Lastly, the laws in place are vital to help provide justice for both the victims and those who have been falsely accused of rape.
The definition of consent is: The permission or an agreement to allow something to happen. At a state level, the law breaks down consent into three types. Research was done primarily on Omaha, so the definitions used are specific to Nebraska. Affirmative consent: When the person openly expresses words indicating an agreement for sexual acts. Affirmative consent is generally the most common due speaking being society’s main form of communication. Freely given consent: When consent is offered at one’s free will. This means that no means of coercion or violence was involved to force one to consent. Lastly, there is the Capacity to consent: Did the party have the capacity, or legal ability to provide consent.
An individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity is often the first thing that is investigated when a rape or sexual-assault is reported. In Nebraska the age of consent is seventeen. Although, a sixteen-year-old can consent with someone who is no more than two years older. A developmental disability can prohibit one from consenting to sexual acts. Intoxication such as alcohol or drugs is a common component when evaluating one’s state of mind to provide consent. Among college student related legal cases, alcohol is very prevalent. Alcohol use is involved in Fifty percent of student reported sexual assaults. Forty-three percent of student reported sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the victim and sixty-nine percent involve alcohol use by the perpetrator. Rape related investigations also review consent based on physical disability, the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, unconsciousness, and vulnerable adults.
Rape kits are gaining traction to gather DNA evidence after a sexual assault has been alleged or reported. Backlog provides legal information that is state specific. Nebraska doesn’t have statewide rape kits, nor is the state currently committed to testing. Legislation is currently pending when it comes to granting victims the right to be informed of a reported rape. Nebraska doesn’t have the funding to support Rape Kit Reform. Rape kits are a vital tool to prosecute offenders because they provide forensic evidence. Rape kits also help protect those who have been wrongly accused of rape.
In 2014, an open record request was issued on behalf of The Accountability Project. Omaha has yet to fully respond to the initial 2014 request. Per backlog, the Omaha Police Department had 1,271 rape kits under custody that date between 200 and 2014. The OPD has taken no measures to provide this data. The status of the 1,271 rape kits is their possession.
Nebraska has shown progression in recent years. In 2016 Legislature passed L.B. 843, which protects victims from being charged for sexual assault medical examinations. A nurse examiner administrator oversees this program and the procedures pertaining to Nebraska. In 2017 Nebraska Legislature introduced a bill that would require testing of newly collected rape kits and provide the results to the victim. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance gave the city of Omaha $1,901,640 for test kits and to fund prosecution and rape investigations. In the long run, these changes will monumental if we as a state want to lower the amount of sexual assault that occurs. Having access to more resources will allow for more prosecution of perpetrators which over time, will lead to a decrease in sexual assault.
When it comes to sexual assault trials, there is some ambiguity. The prosecutor holds all the power. There are no legal guidelines outside of the prosecutor’s decision which is done on a case by case basis. The scholarly article “Prosecuting Sexual Assault: A Comparison of Charging Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases Involving Strangers, Acquaintances, and Intimate Partners.” States that once a verdict has been reached by the prosecutor, a decision to not file charges is unable to be reviewed later. How does one reach a verdict? When reviewing a sexual assault-based trial, the courts put a heavy emphasis on the relation between the victim and the offender, the credibility and reputation of the victim, and the strength of the evidence are all significant variables. The article research shows that good victims have successful jobs (like a stockbroker, accountant, or lawyer); they are well-educated and articulate, and most importantly, they are presentable to the jury. The precedent set by the courts in rape-based trials is worrisome because often those in privileged positions are preying upon the weak. The influence of rape kits being more readily available is profound for the both victim and the defendant due to the verifiable forensic evidence.
Overall, my findings supported that legal guidelines need to concrete and defined when it comes such an ambiguous topic like rape and consent. Evidence is the most critical factor if we want these cases to have a fair trial. When the prosecutor has all of the power, we often see social status, wealth, and credibility play a significant impact on the prosecutor’s decision. Based on the research we must define consent and implement readily available rape kits or ways to garnish additional evidence if we want a just system for both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Consent is a widely debated topic when it comes down to trying to determine between body language, level of sobriety and many other factors. If consent is not given, but sexual acts are still performed, than it becomes sexual assault or rape. When this happens to a women, it is vital to go to the hospital to get a rape kit within two days. Omaha, Nebraska has made changes to laws regarding rape kits and the way they are handled because of how important it is to prosecute rapists.
Specific Rape Kits Laws
Since rape kits are so crucial to locking up criminals, it is alarming to know that 1,271 rape kits from 2000 to 2014 have not been tested and the Omaha Police Department has no records existing regarding the status of these kits (endthebacklog). Steps have been taken since then to prevent this from happening. In 2016, the Nebraska Legislature passed L.B. 843. This ensures that victims would not be charged for their forensic medical examinations. In 2017, a bill was introduced that ensured that rape kits would get tested swiftly and gave victims access to the status of the kits and the results. About 1,901,640 dollars was given by U.S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2018 to test rape kits in Omaha.
Protecting Wellness of Survivors and Victims
Most recently, in 2019, legislators introduced a bill that really had a huge impact by allowing survivors to have an advocate present during medical forensic exams, a free exam which they can decide whether or not to file with the police, and what seems most important, protection from the defendant. Mistreatment of victims and their rape kits has lead to a plan being put into place by Omaha Police Department and Douglas County. This plan is meant specifically for testing all those untested rape kits as mentioned before. This plan has lead to a new “best” practices. Some key steps being taken by the Omaha Police Department and Douglas County in order to ensure fair and swift testing of these kits are, honoring victims request with decisions in their own cases, victims getting contacted if new information is discovered from their kits, and several others (wcaomaha.org).
Evolving Social Standards
Rape kits can be the difference between letting a rapist get away, and putting them behind bars. Identifying these criminals is a huge part of prosecution and DNA does not lie. The steps towards revising how rape kits are handled has been heavily influenced by evolving social standards. These improvements in law and how rape kits are handled have made such a difference. These improvements seem to come from awareness of sexual assault and the realization of how big this issue actually is. Excellent resources have come from this and other movements towards awareness of consent.
The importance of rape kits in the prosecution process can not be denied. Consent is such a debated topic, it is hard to pin down exactly what it is. According to Gray, Jacqueline (2015) consent is something people have different ideas on. When students in this study were questioned on what they believed consent really was, they all answered in different ways about when consent could and could not be given. Since this vital step of understanding consent seems to be an issue with such blurry lines to define the word, it makes rape kits just that much more important in court. With at least that evidence proving with DNA evidence exactly who the defendant is, the jury may be more likely to prosecute.
In another scholarly journal by Keene, Gavin (2018), it states that most rape kits are left untested or unused in court is because they are filed anonymously and then lost due improper storage and organization. When kits go untested, they are no help in prosecuting the rapist. In Omaha Nebraska, this could be where a lot of those untested rape kits went and why the Omaha Police Department is unable to follow through with those kits.
A parking pass in college can cost a student hundreds of dollars for the year, so many students choose to park by campus and walk a distance rather than pay the fee to park. According to UNO’s Gender and Sexuality Resources page, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college (Unomaha Gender and Sexuality Resources). “When students see numbers being really low, I think sometimes it’s harder to make that report,” she said. “If we’re having this conversation about it, it makes people feel like this campus does support me,”(Howard 2014). Friday, April 6th of 2019, a sexual assault occurred in Elmwood Park, a park close by the university in which many students park their cars and walk to campus. Just a few days later on Wednesday April 10th an email was sent out from UNO’s Department of Public Safety (UNODPS) notifying faculty and students that an assault and possible kidnapping had taken place at Elmwood park. The unreliability of such statistics is what’s driving the national conversation on improving accountability, said Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (Howard 2014). On average there is less than 18 sexual assaults that are reported to colleges on an annual basis. With numbers that low its is very concerning because majority of sexual assaults are going unreported. With the lack of reports it makes it difficult to know how often assaults are actually occurring.
Embracing your voice
Speaking up about sexual abuse is more than just simply raising awareness. It’s about giving a voice to someone who can’t speak for themselves, a voice to someone who’s too scared to speak up. Most importantly speaking up is to showing survivors that aren’t alone and when they are ready to share their story that they will have support every step of the way. that we as a nation are here for and are will to help throughout the journey of recovery. There are many things that play a significant role in why so many sexual assaults go unreported. Fear being the biggest one. ‘Chances are someone you know is a survivor of sexual violence. They might not have told anyone out of fear of being blamed or judged.’ (NSVRC 2018) There’s a stigma that the victim could of prevented the sexual assault from happening had they not drunk too much at the party or if they wore different clothing and so many more. No one ask to be violated and have their personal space invaded. Survivors fear that if they speak up about that no one will believe them or that law enforcement can’t be trusted. Educating people about sexual assault is important because victims of abuse are watching what is being said and who can be trusted with their story. Raising awareness help millions of survivors around the world know that you don’t have to stand alone. We as a nation have to come together and support one another in the hopes to end sexual assault.
It Affects Everyone
Due to the lack of awareness there have been many harmful stigmas created. Over time people have a made a social norm that man can’t be sexually assaulted and that if a man ever came forward about being sexually assaulted it was their fault or they were weak. Being raped doesn’t make a person weak regardless of sexual identity. Its thoughts like that, that make it so important to raise awareness and help people find there. Just in the US alone according to National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC 2018) nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men have experience sexual assault or attempted rape at least once in their lifetime in 2017. Sexual assault isn’t just a something that happens to women or heterosexual individuals, everyone is affected by sexual assault women, men, children, seniors, heterosexual individuals and individuals that belong to the LGBTQ community. In the us alone 2 in 3 transgender or non-binary individuals will experience sexual assault. (Omaha Women’s Fund Bill of Rights Fact Sheet.)
Due to the lack of awareness for sex and consent there has been a steadily increase in the number in sexual assaults.
Affirmative sexual consent? Direct and unambiguous consent is rarely included in discussions of recent sexual interactions.
The article goes into depth about how sexual consent is problematic throughout the united states. It starts off with asking what the general understanding of what sexual consent is. Sexual consent is what two individuals of sound mind and body willingly and knowingly choose to engage in sexual intercourse. Next the articles talk about sexual consent and the role it plays in the context of normative sexual scripts. It mentions that sometimes males have the tendency to ignore a female’s resistance to their sexual advances. It mentions that sometimes males have the tendency to ignore a female’s resistance to their sexual advances. Also, that a male will try to wear down a sexual partner by continuing their advances until the female finally gives in. Then the article mentions that consent is interpreted and expressed. Consent can be expressed in many different was verbally and non-verbally. (Shumlich, E. J., & Fisher, W. A. 2018).
Exploring Definitions and Prevalence of Verbal Sexual Coercion and Its Relationship to Consent to Unwanted Sex: Implications for Affirmative Consent Standards on College Campuses first
This article relates to my topic of sex and consent because it shows how consent has because and issues at college campuses. There has been a long ongoing battle of what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to sex and consent. However, many don’t understand why is it important. The article mentions how sexual assault has become a norm. Sexual coercion is an issue when it comes to sexual consent. Many people have debated on if sexual coercion counts as consent. The articles sheds insight on how sex and consent has become a major issue at college campuses and how assumptions made that males will go out and get consent and that women are free to say no at any given time. The article also mentions the key role that sexual coercion plays into consent. Additionally, it mentions that sexual assault has become a norm. Consent is important when it comes to sex because without it we get into situations that involve sexual abuse, assault, and even rape. (Pugh, B., & Becker, P. 2018).
College Students’ Sexual Consent Communication and Perceptions of Sexual Double Standards: A Qualitative Investigation.
College students express their personal opinion on sexual consent. Many female participants mentioned situation where males have pressured them into to a sexual encounter. One male participant says that even when a girl says no that he still pursues her until she has changed his mind. The main focus of the article is if a woman has an obligation to a man. A man buys a woman a drink and know she owes him sexual favors because since she accepted the drink not only is she interested in the guy who brought her a drink but she is also interested in engaging in sexual intercourse with him. Many participants in the study agreed that if a man bought a drink then the woman has an obligation to him to fulfill his sexual desires. (Jozkowski, K. N., Marcantonio, T. L., & Hunt, M. E. 2017)
LGBTQIA And Consent
While sexual assault affects all people of different backgrounds, those of marginalized groups are often the most targeted. First, a quick definition of LGBTQIA is, gender and cisgender. LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual and this is an all encompassing name for those in the queer community. Gender is a broad scope of identities that is different from their sex. Cisgender is the gender identity you were born with and identify with. Those in the LGBTQIA community are often at a higher rate of sexual assault and harassment that their cisgender or heterosexual counterpart. On a national level, 1 out of 2 transgender individuals will get sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Fifty percent of those in hate crimes were queer women of color and also being a sizable amount of queer men and gender non conforming were victims as well. Before or after the attacks, genital mutilation and sexual assault frequently happens(Office for Victims of Crimes, Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault, June 2014). This can be seen on a local level as well. Discussed is how marginalized groups, especially in the LGBT+ community, are targeted by sexual assault and that more education needs to be done.
The Brandon Teena Case
Looking in to the story of Brandon Teena who was the subject of films like The Brandon Teena Story and Boys Don’t Cry, his story shows who is at risk in Nebraska. Brandon Tees was a Lincoln native who moved to Humboldt Nebraska, about an hour and a half away from Omaha, to start new after brief run ins with the law in Lincoln. Brandon Teena was a Trans Man. He got a group of friends and a successful romantic life before running into the law again. This revealed Brandon’s “dead name” (or name before transitioning) and as it does in small towns, that news spread. During a Christmas party, his two friends Tom Nissen and John Lotter, forcibly removed his pants to “check his genitalia”, drove him away from the party, gang raped him, drove him back to the party and threatened his life if this was reported. Brandon snuck out to the party to report the crime. The crime was being “under investigation” according to the local authorities. Brandon was referred to as an “it”, and was asked inappropriate questions like “Do you run around[…] with a sock in your pants to make you look like a boy”. There was a rape kit but it was “lost”. Although Brandon was threatened, he was not given protective custody. A week passed, Brandon taken to a farmhouse outside of town by Tom Nissen and John Lotter and was shot to death. They were not charged with rape. The police and law enforcement did not treat his sexual assault as genuine and confused Brandon’s genitals and past romantic history as consent. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Trans and queer individuals are at risk and very little is being done for them. As mentioned before, the rate of LGBT individuals are at a higher rate of being sexually harassed and assaulted. This story is a blight on Nebraska’s history but shows something a bit darker. That there are a portion of Nebraskans who don’t view LGBT individuals right to safe consensual sex as not a priority. That includes law enforcements. This is a part of Nebraskan history and a legal hearing which set a dangerous precedent of how queer victims are seen in the court of law.
Sex Education and LGBTQIA Individuals
A way to combat this harmful set of thinking is through sexual education. Unfortunately this isn’t cut and dry. On January 2016, a school board meeting was heard to update its Sex Education curriculum. What came out was a large protest of older adults calling the proposed new curriculum “full of pornographic content promoting homosexual lifestyles, masturbation, and sexually graphic images”. Parents are calling the course a secret agenda. This was fought by students saying the students needed this education. The new curriculum would go into more about sexual assault, LGBT and gender issues. Recently, Millard Public School District unveiled their own sexual health curriculum. While it covers things like vaping, smoking with vapors instead of smoke, it omitted a lot of more pressing issues like LGBT sexual activities and gender orientation. What this does is leave massive gaps in a students education, especially if they would benefit from it. Omaha and Nebraska leans more conservative and believes that abstaining from sex itself is the best form of sexual education according to the article Omaha parent says proposed sex ed approach ‘rapes children of their innocence. It puts them in a world where their potential partners, the people around them and the people who’ll become those will protect them, will be ignorant about consent with the LGBT individuals. A more comprehensive and inclusive sexual education would do wonders to help people understand consent with more marginalized individuals. But that can only do so much. Are there resources to help those affected?
In Nebraska there are resources that are offered to help those affected. Omaha has GLSEN. Although GLSEN, or Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is a national organization they work intimately with Omaha and the Council Bluffs region for younger individuals to educated theme about gender and sexuality. They are a group of individuals that make a connection to the people involved. Similar thing to University of Nebraska Medical Center. They have a Transgender health center for all the different health issues for transgender individuals. This would be classified are a more precautionary action to consent. A person may use these resources to help educate themselves before hand. To understand their own and partners bodies and how it works and what is too far. To understand consent with non
heteronormative bodies and relationships. The finding here is that resources like these are beneficial about the growing language of consent with a marginalized group who are affected by sexual assault.
Unfortunately, consent isn’t always there and laws are broken. How does the legal system reflect consent being broken?
In initial findings, I found that those in queer communities are more inclined to suffer from sexual assault or harassment, as referenced earlier.These findings are in a larger, national scope of things. The best way to combat this issue was to show Nebraska history of sexual assault and sex education in LGBTQIA spaces. Brandon Teena case was a way to showcase the high risk of queer people getting attacked in a local environment. The OPS and Millard Sex Ex courses to show how teaching consent in queer spaces isn’t a high priority.
This study shows a lot of the things that Omaha has about sex and consent are resources about sexual assault and how to handle those situations and what Omaha offers for those who have been affected. In terms of resources, it is about places people can go, people to talk to, and support groups to get the word out there. This study is going to talk about the different places and resources that Omaha has to offer those who need them.
University of Nebraska Omaha
The first resource that is discussed is University of Nebraska at Omaha. They offer a number of resources for the Omaha community. First they have a pledge called “It’s On Us” which gives some statistics about sexual assault and then pledge that states, “To RECOGNIZE that non consensual sex is sexual assault. To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur. To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.” (University of Nebraska at Omaha 2019). This shows that consent is an important factor when it comes to being assaulted or not. Next, they offer a few different resources on campus. The first one is Victim and Survivor Advocates which serve the needs of victims and survivors of sexual assault. They don’t just provide support for victims, but also their friends and family. They provide affirming, empowering, and confidential support for survivors. Advocates help survivors navigate their options, provide them with support, connect them with resources on-campus or within the community, and serve as a trusted point of contact throughout the whole process. Specifically the advocates may provide emotional support, educate on resources and reporting options, accompany them to the hospital, and even help develop a safety plan. Another resources that UNO provides is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). They provide confidential short-term counseling to those who need it. They also have contacts for other therapists that are outside of the university that can help if they need long-term counseling. Another resource that the university provides is Interpersonal Violence Response Team (IVRT). This team meets to review current procedures and case studies to more effectively serve victims of interpersonal violence. This resources isn’t one that give the survivor direct help, but helps with the internal infrastructure development. The last resource that the university provides is Student Safety. They provide a number to report any sexual assault or violence that may occur on campus. They also send out public services announcements when some assault has occurred so that everyone on campus knows what is happening and to be safe. For example, on April 6th, 2019 they sent on out on a sexual assault that occurred in Elmwood park. They wanted everyone on campus to know what is going on and provide numbers to report and get help. University of Nebraska at Omaha provides a number or resources and services to help victims.
The next resource that is discussed is Survivors Rising. They are survivors that started this group. They a working group that is dedicated to advocacy, education, and support for survivors of sexual abuse and violence. Survivors Rising is “committed to working with survivors to provide hope and tools for healing and to providing survivor engagement in all aspects of our communities” (Survivors Rising 2018). They provide many resources. They even provide services that aren’t about sexual assault like domestic violence and stalking. For sexual assault, they gave the website of the National Sexual Violence Center which is one giant tools and resource center. They act as a communication hub connecting people with information, resources, tools, and expertise. Survivor Rising also provides RAINN which is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. They also carry out programs to prevent sexual assaults and ensure that predators are brought to justice. Survivors Rising is a great resource in of itself. They provide many different services and they don’t just stop at sexual assault.
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women Omaha Section is the next organization offers resources that will be discussed. This group gives specific place that offer help and a little bit about what they do. They give addresses and phone numbers. For example, the Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska offers counseling for victims of rape/sexual assault. They have multiple locations in the metro.
Women’s Center For Advancement
Women’s Center For Advancement is another organization that is talk about. They are one big resource. According to WCA “In Omaha, these crimes happen every day, as demonstrated by the 5,257 police reports the WCA received in 2016, and provided service to 550 clients in area emergency. All told, the WCA provided services to more than 4,271 clients in 2016 and received more than 8,500 hotline calls.” (Women’s Center For Advancement 2019). They provide a lot of help and services for those in need. One service they provide is providing support for the victims. This can be from emotional support where they have confidential counseling to financial support where they help with rent and help find a career that best suits them. They even offer to help get a safety plan in place and help get them an attorney. Their resources are endless. Another resource they offer is called prevention and education. This is where they go to different universities, high schools, elementary schools, community organizations, and even businesses to educate and prevent sexual assault. They offer a few different topics they can talk about like, consent, dating & sexual violence 101, sexual violence 101, and sexual violence & rape culture. With consent, they will gain knowledge of affirmative consent and how to discuss consent. This is one of the most important lessons they offer because this is the foundation of sexual assault. If there is more education on consent then there can be a hold on sexual assault. With sexual violence 101, they will gain knowledge of power and control dynamics of sexual violence and tips for referring survivors to resources. This is great because many victims don’t know where to go and feel like they are all alone and then they don’t know what to do and where to start. This ensures that people can help others and help fight against sexual assault. They even have their own hotline of they need help and don’t know where to start. They even have a whole page dedicated to knows and places to get help. WCA offers a lot of great resources and does a great job trying to prevent and educate.
As the study discussed, Omaha has a lot of resources available to survivors and is trying to prevent and educate on sexual assault. Consent plays a major role in sexual assault and is an important concept to understand, so the sexual abuse can stop and learn how to prevent and protect. This study showed University of nebraska at Omaha and what resources they have to offer as well as Survivors Rising, National Council of Jewish Women Omaha Section, and Women’s Center for Advancement. These are just a few great organizations that offer support and tools to help sexual assault victims in the metro.
Consent, an Afterthought
This study shows that the people are more concerned about the crime of being sexually assaulted rather than focusing on what happens before that, which is consent. If people worried more about educating students on consent, then it would give a more straight forward plan on how to prevent and stop all these assaults. It seems they are just giving out resources because they just have given up on trying to stop it. They just give resources and move on.
These resources have shown is that many organizations focus that offer resources only focus on the aftermath, what happens after the rape. It is almost as if they know it’s going to happen and they aren’t trying to prevent, but to just deal with the situation after the sexual assault. They don’t talk about consent and the point that it is very important to help prevent sexual assault. This study isn’t saying that resource for victims is a bad thing, but it shows that the resources need to be accompanied by the education of consent in order to make an impact.
To conclude, this study shows how Omaha thinks about sexual assault, trying to pass laws and get more funding for rape kits, offers resources and provides awareness throughout various mediums in the metro. To sum up the findings of this study, laws are being reformed and improved on response to mistreatment of victims and survivors, people in marginalized groups are being attacked more, which could be due to the lack of education, and when it comes to consent, people are more worried about the crime rather why it happened in the first place. Education of consent seems to be on the back burner when it should be the main focus, because it could help prevent the act of being sexual assaulted.
(Brandon Ayers, legal based writings)
Legal levels: 0 – nonexistent/discriminatory laws, 1 – incomplete/weak laws, 2 – Correlative laws, 3 – fully provided for prohibitions
- These charts show the strength of laws that protect women against four types of abuse in 196 countries. This data supports that the United States and Europe lead the race when it comes to legal protection of women. By looking at both graphs, we can see that economic power and government representation by women has a direct correlation with laws that protect women from abuse. For example, laws that protect women against violence are close to nonexistent in Western Asia. This is speculated to be due to women having minimal rights and power in that part of the country.
- This picture is of an email that was sent to everyone in the UNO community to be aware of the situation that occurred. It was sent on Tuesday, April 9th. It was sent by the public safety department of UNO.
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