Photo representations send strong messages about sexual assault
The White House’s United States Department of Justice’s survey of sexual assault at Rutgers is a big deal for the school, and as a reader, I appreciate the coverage on these types of issues. The recent article published in the Daily Targum on Sept. 29, titled “U. urges students to take sexual assault survey,” was very informative and updated me on what is going on, which is exactly what I was looking for. The only piece that seemed problematic to me was the photo that was chosen for the article. The photo showed a person in a dress walking up the stairs and the back of a hooded bandit lurking close by. Most times, in sexual assault cases, the victim knows the attacker, especially in the context of college campuses. The White House Task Force Against Sexual Assault reports that on college campuses “85 percent of victims were assaulted by someone they knew, usually a fellow student.”
Pictures say 1,000 words. Readers equate the picture with the article. We don’t want people equating sexual assault with a big scary monster hiding behind the corner because the face usually looks much more familiar, and it is important for people to be aware of that.
Kaila Boulware is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in public health. She is chairwoman of the Transforming Cultures Initiative at Douglass Residential College.