Our View: The human element

When the editorial staff of The Kent Stater meets to write “Our Views,” our goal is to provide thought-provoking commentary on issues that matter on the scale of our campus, nation and global community.


As the Stater continues its semester-long coverage of sexual assault at universities, it’s only fitting that we cover this topic as well.

Yet, as an editorial board comprised of four men who are unlikely to ever find ourselves victims of sexual assault, using this “Our View” as a chance to simply reiterate that these heinous crimes are a severe problem that need addressed would be an ineffective gesture.

Erin Zaranec, the writer of the guest piece highlighted in Monday’s opinion section, recounts her experience as a “faceless number in a sea of sexual assault statistics.”

In less than 1,200 words, she shares a moment that permanently affected the way she goes about life more than six years later.

Her story provides a critical component to the battle against sexual assault: the human element.

Disseminating statistics to shed light on how deep the problem runs is important. Knowing that one in six women will be victims of rape or attempted rape over the course of their lives provides insight into the swiftness with which this issue must be corrected.

But numbers can’t produce the same effect that Erin does by sharing her story. By stepping out of the shadow of the egregious crime committed against her, she reminds readers that every woman behind the “one in six” statistic has her own story.

It’s crucial that society makes greater strides in regard to combatting sexual assault.

But until that effort is realized, stories like Erin’s will play an imperative role in reminding the rest of us that — for the sake of victims and survivors — we cannot simply be bystanders.