Sexual assault is a widespread issue among college students across the United States. Colleges nationwide require administrators and staff to take sexual assault training, but the preventative impact of these trainings is not known. Students who have experienced sexual assault on campus face long lasting trauma that make it difficult to succeed academically. When the victims feels that the school system failed to keep them safe, it is imperative that administrators go beyond their required training by providing the victims with the option of restorative justice. At California State University, Fullerton, we took a course concerning sex, crime, and culture; the class gave us the opportunity to hear the firsthand experiences of sexual assault victims and how restorative justice had notably helped them cope with the trauma of being sexually victimized while on campus. Restorative justice is a face-to-face encounter that allows the victim to explain to their perpetrator how the assault impacted them. By implementing restorative justice onto all college campuses; it can reduce sexual assault and is beneficial to everyone involved. For the perpetrators who met their victims, the frequency of reoffending fell by 27% (The Guardian, 2015). College campuses that use restorative justice directly give the victims an opportunity to approach their perpetrators; there is a chance for perpetrators to take accountability for the crime they committed, and it demonstrates that colleges are taking the initiative to resolve a severe issue on their campus. Most importantly, victims are given a sense of empowerment that they would not have experienced if they went through the typical victim-blaming process often used by colleges. We would like to research the impact of restorative justice on the victims as they heal from their trauma, and suggest implementation of this practice to help anyone who has experienced sexual assault on campus.
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