STATESBORO, Ga., (WSAV)- An official at Georgia Southern University said there has been an increase in the number of reported sexual violence this year on campus and in the community.
However, Jodi Caldwell, Ph.D., executive director of the Counseling Center, said even though more people are coming forward to report sexual violence, this does not indicate a rise in people being sexually assaulted.
Caldwell said this is because many cases often go unreported.
The act of sexual violence can be described as “sexual harassment or experiencing a sexually hostile environment. All the way to the most severe being a rape or a forcible sexual act,” Caldwell explained.
Caldwell said the increase in reports is a good thing and she thinks it may be due to the #MeToo movement as well as public figures coming forward to report sexual abuse.
“Victims are feeling more empowered and more comfortable and apparently more likely to reach out to their rape crisis center, law enforcement or campus resources is great. It means more people are getting the help they deserve and need,” Caldwell said.
She also said if victims of sexual violence come forward at Georgia Southern, there are several resources to help them.
“We of course offer free mental health services, free counseling for all of our students. They can get free follow up medical care through health services,” Caldwell said.
She also added the school offers legal assistance, to victims of sexual violence, if needed.