It’s been about a month since the rape that occurred on campus, and concerns of safety have been circulating throughout the student body.
On April 11, the Third Wave and Psychology clubs held a conjoined meeting in light of Sexual Assault Awareness month, holding a discussion on the issue and addressing how it relates to our school specifically.
The meeting went over sexual assault statistics, the mental and emotional trauma after the fact, and included an excerpt from the Stanford rape victim’s letter. But below the surface, the students in the room were still coming to terms with what had occurred.
A week before this meeting was when the rape happened in the W building locker room on April 5, and many students got a mass email from PCC about the incident that Friday after the assault. The meeting on the following Tuesday coincidentally happened to discuss sexual assault, but it then took on a greater magnitude.
Since it had only been a week since the rape, many students still felt the shock from the news. One of them was Michael Wells, who is a member of both clubs.
“I got the email as I was on my way to PCC, and all I could feel was disgusted that it happened,” he said. “We don’t think it could happen here because there aren’t dorms, but it did happen anyway.”
Meanwhile, communications major Victor Hijaldo still remembers a month later the concern and shock he felt when he heard of the news over customers while working as a barista at Starbucks.
“I just heard it in line and I was definitely shocked that this could happen at our school,” Hijaldo said. “It goes to show that anything can happen to anyone. I generally feel as a tall male safe even if I’m at PCC late at night but I feel for the girls who may not feel the same. It’s unfortunate that this happened to a male so it can happen to anyone.”
One month later, the case and the buzz about it has died down. But it is still present in student’s thoughts, and the discussion should not end even when the campus attention has, at least according to Psychology Club president, Andrea Ng. She stressed the importance of having these conversations and keeping them ongoing.
“We do not claim to have the perfect anecdote to stop sexual assault on campus but what we are trying to start with is dialogue, get students to start having conversations about sexual assault and acknowledging that it is real, not something you see on the news,” she said. “For clubs to start discussions about it will show them that the conversation shouldn’t and doesn’t end.”
Other students around campus have had their thoughts about the case, some still in somewhat disbelief that it happened and others feeling like more security is needed around campus, including having emergency call buttons more widespread. Some have even noticed less security, strangely.
Students want to have a more comfortable sense of security, this has been voiced in the meeting and around campus, with some noting that some places are more sketchier than others. Hijaldo emphasizes that any dangerous incident can happen anywhere as small as PCC, and that though he feels generally safe going to school, he’s been concerned with security since the rape.
“I’ve been noticing less police presence around campus, so I think an increase of police around campus, even the smaller areas, could definitely help prevent these things from happening,” Hijaldo suggested.
Fellow student Sabrina Moreno mirrors this sentiment and added that beefed up security is needed.
“I think we need the [campus] security to be more active,” she said. “They need to be walking around in places that are a little more suspicious or sketchy to ensure that no one is in danger.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or raped, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for any support needed. For more information on how to deal with and report sexual assault, please visit the Pasadena City College sexual assault page.