Last week, Temple Police released its annual 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report to the Temple University community.
The document showed that the number of reported rapes on campus doubled from six in 2016 to 12 last year. Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services, wrote the increase may be a result of Title IX initiatives like the university’s confidential online reporting system and a 24-hour hotline through its partnership with Philadelphia-based nonprofit Women Organized Against Rape.
The possibility that instances of rape on campus have increased is troubling and disturbing. More reporting, however, shows people feel comfortable accessing on-campus resources to recover from sexual violence and hold those who commit it accountable.
We understand that reporting may not be the right step or comfortable for everyone, especially because it involves recounting a traumatic event. Nevertheless, we encourage the university to continue its efforts to provide sexual violence prevention and education resources and increase outlets for survivors to report and heal from their trauma. Friends and loved ones of survivors, be an ally and advocate, but don’t overstep your boundaries as to take agency away from a person who may feel it has been stolen from them.
Though some survivors across the country might feel more empowered to access resources than in the past, in part due to the #MeToo Movement, sexual violence is still happening. We hope to see a day when the number of instances of sexual violence in Temple Police’s annual report is zero.