by Juzanne Martin
Incidents of sexual assault and other misconduct at the University of Florida were unveiled in a recent report from The Tab-Florida. This marks the first time The Tab has released the University’s sexual misconduct incidents in the school’s history.
After a three year police investigation, the investigative series concluded that 58 percent of sexual assault cases on campuses were reported from on campus dorms. Six incidents were reported from the University of Florida campus dorm, Beaty Towers.
This amount of reported incidents is doubled in comparison to dorms such as Jennings Hall and Broward Hall who have reported “three rapes each,” The Tab details.
The report comes at a time where the pressing issue of sexual misconduct has captured the attention of the American public. Allegations of sexual misconduct have spread rampantly throughout public eye affecting prominent figures such as Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein and James Franco. Franco, recently made headlines after being accused of sexually exploitive behavior by multiple women, a USA Today article recently stated. The new report includes accounts from four of Franco’s former students that accused him of “inappropriate behavior.”
Franco denied the allegations on a recent episode of Late Night with Seth Myers “ “The ones I read were not accurate,” Franco responded.“The things I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”
The Tab notes that, throughout the three years documented, 44 percent of sexual assault cases were reported at the University of Florida in the months of September, October, and November, which correlates with research into the “Red Zone” – when students are most at risk of sexual assault, as the bulk of reported assaults emerged from Shands Hospital.
The University has provided different avenues for students to become more comfortable with seeking help and speaking out against sexual misconduct. A new private room dedicated to sexual assault survivors recently opened at UF Health Shands Hospital, giving sexual assault victims a quiet place to be examined. Away from the main emergency department, the safe space sports a beach-themed décor, mellow wall colors, and uplifting quotes to provide comfort to survivors dealing with the effects of a traumatic incident.
Also, on-campus events such as Sexual Assault Awareness Day hosted by the UF Student Government last April urged students to recognize the true meaning of consent. Along with this day, 300 students took it upon themselves to sign a consent pledge in order to promote appropriate sexual conduct.