More needs to be done on college campuses to prevent sexual assault, victim advocates say

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MUNCIE, Ind. -- As college students head back to school, campuses are having serious conversations about sexual assault and rape. Victims advocates say more needs to be done, including harsher punishments for perpetrators.

On Wednesday, a man was arrested for allegedly raping a former roommate, who was a Ball State University student.

According to a Washington Post analysis, Ball State University ranked second in a list of campuses in Indiana with the highest number of reported rapes in 2014. Freshman and incoming students are required to complete an online course called "Think About It." It's designed to give students a look at real life sexual assault cases, in hopes for them to think about the consequences of a night of partying.

“They really need to be aware of circumstances and situations that they find themselves in," said Teresa Clemmons, Director of A Better Way in Muncie.

A Better Way helps provide services to community members and students who feel like they may be victims of sexual assault. Clemmons said pressures of fitting in and being labeled a "victim" often times prevents people from coming forward.

“If they don’t tell anybody and they wait several days, you lose the possibility of evidence that we might have been able to acquire," Clemmons said. She added, “I think a lot of victims doubt themselves. They start wondering, is part of this my fault, did I do something wrong?"

Victims services provided on college campus are usually available 24/7. Clemmons said while campuses are educating students about where they can go to get help, there's more than can be done to prevent sexual assault from happening in the first place.

"There's another side to this story and it's the bigger side in my mind and that is to explain to people that it's not right to do this. People need to understand when yes is yes and when no is no and if you don’t know that it’s yes, stop," said Clemmons.

“We really need to work on reducing the number of perpetrators and I believe the way you do that is through initial education and then by punishing the people who do wrong," Clemmons said.

For resources available through A Better Way, click here. For information on sexual assault prevention at Ball State University, click here.