Angelica Levy

Colleges campuses are an important part of Maine; they involve people coming together to learn from each other.

Specifically in the Franklin County area, the University of Maine at Farmington plays a key role in our community. College students attending this university do not always feel safe and supported. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in sexual assaults on campuses across the nation; Farmington has not been exempt from this.

Recently proposed acts, such as LD 1727, call for new laws that hold aggressors accountable and keep our college campuses safer. Students deserve to be respected, students deserve to be believed and students deserve to feel safe when they are going to school. Currently, there are not any laws that require universities to hold those aggressors accountable and that connect student survivors with adequate support.

It is important that we continue to advocate for change in our legal sphere for the safety of our youth, our friends, and of our neighbors who are attending college. No one should feel unsafe while attending school. Abusers should not be able to get away with atrocious crimes; they need to be held accountable.

Advocating for the safety of our students is incredibly important, and putting laws in place will help provide justice for survivors of such crimes.

Over 90% of college student sexual assault cases are never reported. Meanwhile, one out of every five women and one out of every 16 men are assaulted while they are on campus. These numbers are higher than most people want to admit.

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These are our neighbors, children and friends who are enduring abuse. It has been far too long without having laws passed that support survivors and clearly define what sexual assault is.

As a community, we will need to continue to support bills that keep our students safe. This will require support from our community, from many communities around Maine, and around the nation. Many organizations and nonprofits will need to come together to advocate for safe college campuses.

Please continue to support bills that bring support to survivors and hold aggressors accountable, and support your local organizations that support survivors of abuse. The only way to make change is to advocate for that change.

Angelica Levy is a Franklin County-based social services professional and graduate social work student.


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