April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and as part of a calendar of events at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, a flag display has been set up on the lawn outside the University Classroom Building to give the campus a visual of national assault statistics if applied to the UH Hilo student population.
“Although much of the UH Hilo community may know the statistics surrounding sexual assault, we feel a visual display can also be quite effective in getting the message across,” says Destiny Rodriguez, a Title IX/VAWA educator and confidential advocate at the UH Hilo Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).
For the display, national statistics were applied to the population of UH Hilo students to arrive at possible statistics within that population. The national numbers are alarming.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, statistics show that one in five women and one in 16 men have been or will be sexually assaulted while in college. Additionally, Brown University conducted a study that showed 12 percent of college students identify as LGBTQ+, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that one in three LGBTQ+ individuals have been or will be sexually assaulted while in college.
Based on these statistics and the number of women and men enrolled at UH Hilo this semester, Rodriguez calculated how many men, women and LGBTQ+ individuals may have been or may be sexually assaulted while in college.
“Although these numbers are alarming, and not specified in the display, it is important to be aware that 427 women, 86 men and 139 LGBTQ+ individuals could be or have been sexually assaulted while in college,” she explains. “The display indicates these categories by using teal, blue, and purple flags representing women, men and LGBTQ+individuals, respectively.”