Georgetown University recently released its first ever Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey on Jan. 14. Two working groups, the Sexual Assault Working Group and the Climate Survey Working Group, collaborated to identify the proper first steps to take towards reaching the ultimate goal of eradicating sexual assault on Georgetown’s campus. As such, it is essential that students recognize and support these efforts put forth by the administration and students. All students should consider taking the survey in order to provide the most accurate data to the working groups. The data, when released, will give these groups the ability to accurately assess the sexual assault climate on campus and consequently devise a plan to respond to concerns raised by survey responses. Survey coordinators estimate that programs inspired by survey results will be created over the summer break and implemented in the fall of 2016.
However, for some students, the language used in this survey may trigger them to relive traumatic experiences. The survey- makers decided that they would have to include very descriptive and potentially upsetting language to ensure that the survey yields meaningful data. The language has the potential to trigger students who have dealt with sexual assault issues in the past. These students should not feel pressured to take on the emotional stress the survey might create unless they feel prepared to do so. Unfortunately, when administering surveys such as these, specific and possibly upsetting language can be a necessary evil.
However, the students that are capable of taking the survey without this emotional toll should do so to assist in working towards a safer campus and hopefully save future students from having to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault. Students and administrators should continue to work together and use the data from the survey to make informed and sensitive decisions on how to make Georgetown’s campus a safe space.