While too many of us were concentrating on an NBA player’s sexuality despite the fact that most of the population had never heard of him, some much bigger news was transpiring.

“Four Morehouse athletes were arrested in connection with sexual assaults,” was the headline of the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s website.

Heartbreaking on so many levels, for the women who are victims, for the accused young men who at a young age have pretty much destroyed their lives, and for Morehouse College, a school that’s spent the last few years trying to restore its reputation.

Like most colleges, Morehouse has a zero tolerance policy to violence.

Morehouse is in the spotlight now, but it’s not alone. The rise of sexual assaults on college campuses is something every parent sending their child, male and female, should be aware of.

In HBCUs as well as mainstream colleges and universities, most  of these incidents involve drugs and alcohol.  We’re not talking beer and weed…the kind of stuff that might have been at parties when you or your parents were in school. It’s gone up to a new level, and today’s parents need to be on top of it.

High school graduations are coming up and families with college-bound kids probably have a long to-do list…clothes, dorm room supplies, even new cars for some.  But even if you had the talk about sex and drugs (and you should have) with your kids already, it’s time to put it on the top of the list before they leave for college.

Your sons need to read this story and realize that right now they probably can say for sure they’d never sexually assault a woman, but in the wrong environment with the wrong crowd, with the wrong drugs and alcohol, they’re capable of anything. One night of “partying” can bring consequences that will last a lifetime.

Your daughters should read the article too and be warned not to take any drugs or drink alcohol, especially at parties and clubs.  They should always attend functions with trusted friends and never be afraid to report a physical assault of any kind.

Schools are well aware that these problems are occurring and administrators are being encouraged to be proactive about curtailing the problem.
The Historically Black College and University Campus Sexual Assault Study has data that proves alcohol played a role in 14 percent of sexual assaults.

Some HBCU campuses have places where students can go, like health centers, campus police and counseling facilities specifically to report these crimes, but we know that decision to make these types of crimes public are difficult.  That’s why, in spite of what the colleges and universities are doing, these conversations need to be had in advance.

One study showed that the reasons for not reporting sexual attacks on campus ranged from not wanting anyone to know to feeling that the assault was not serious enough.

But when drugs and alcohol are part of the equation, it’s even more complicated because the victim and the person perpetrating the act are probably both doing something they never would ordinarily do.

Even though we can blame a lot of this behavior on alcohol, boys and girls who go to college need and their parents need a wake up call.

Here is a statistic from the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault: At least 1 and four college women will be the victim of a sexual attack during her academic career.

If your daughter has three friends, that means there’s a good chance one of them will have this horrible fate.

It’s more complicated than telling your son “no means no,” because some drugs will cause girls to consent. You know your children better than any one does and you need to use any kind of language necessary and do whatever it takes to make them understand the danger that’s out there. It could mean drug tests, it could mean weekend unannounced visits from you or a relative, it could mean making them move home if they break the rules. These are big sacrifices and inconveniences but far better than what the parents of the five students involved are going through today.

Let take a stand as parents, and the march should start now, right into out children’s heads that sexual violence is NEVER ok.

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