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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Speaking out against sexual assault offers hope to victims

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Many female students in our community are haunted by fear when going out due to previous traumatic experiences out of their control.

Sexual assault has always been difficult to discuss. Talking about it may open up old wounds, but it also offers support to the victims of these life-altering crimes. Speaking out can encourage others to use their voice and make efforts in our community to keep it safe. As students, it is our responsibility to create a secure environment where our peers can thrive.

Recently, former UCSB student Daniel Jiang Chen was arrested on Feb. 10 after DNA evidence linked him to the brutal gang rape of a female UCSB student that took place on Feb. 23, 2014, in Isla Vista. After two years, police were finally able to prosecute a suspect in the case.

Last year, Kenechukwu Denzel Ugwueze, former City College student and football player, was also arrested under suspicion of raping an 18-year-old female on Oceano Avenue. Later, a second victim of Ugwueze came forward.

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Although some cases can take longer, Chen’s and Ugwueze’s arrests offer hope to victims and community members that these offenders will be found and prosecuted.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that 1 out of 5 women will be assaulted while in college. This means that in a class of 30 students, 6 of those students will experience a form of sexual assault during their time in school.

In Santa Barbara, the Rape Crisis Center responds to approximately 700 new cases each year.

Fortunately, City College and UCSB have taken more precautions to support their students in feeling safe, both on and off campus.

Campus security patrols the grounds both day and night and can escort students to their car. For those who feel uncomfortable walking to or from class at night, security officers can be called by pressing the blue button on emergency posts located throughout east and west campus. City College also offers personal counseling to all students free of charge in hopes to encourage students by advocating emotional health and support, not just academic success.

Isla vista has also made changes to promote a safer environment in the past couple of years. The neighborhood installed more light posts after students at USCB took action to improve the lighting throughout dusky streets like Camino Corto and Estero Rd. This effort makes it safer and easier to see when walking at night.

It is important that our community continues to shine light on sexual assault; no one should be forced to live in its shadow.

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