Signs stand tall throughout Tigerland on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, on Bob Petit Blvd. in Baton Rouge, La.

Once again, another crime has occurred in Baton Rouge. According to a report from The Advocate, “A man has been arrested, accused of taking a woman home from Fred’s bar in Tigerland and raping her as she slept, police documents say.”

As she slept? You mean the human requirement to function, where we are rendered unconscious, trusting that we are safe?

A night that was intended for fun ended in agony.

We have become desensitized to various headlines like this one and the climbing number of crimes. These actions have become a norm. We are numb. We are broken. And like times before, this incident will soon be forgotten until the next time it reaches the media.

That is not okay.

I used to wake up, get dressed and walk over to my neighbor’s house to ask if she could play. We would play freely in the neighborhood streets, without direct parental supervision, knowing that when the sun hit the trees it was time to go home.

We would ride our bikes around town to spend our hard-earned lemonade stand money at the most prestigious stores: Dollar Tree, CVS, Walgreens and the gas station. We didn’t worry about our safety and neither did our parents.

It wasn’t a utopia, crime still existed, but since those days something has changed.

The darkness that used to shadow the horrible acts of humans now works to not only shadow it, but empower this inhumanity. We see the headlines, the social media posts and hear the call to action, yet the only thing that changes is an increase of fear.

Not everyone is afraid to go out, but the world in its current state calls for it. It’s a fear we shouldn’t have to have.

We should be able to go out with our friends and have a fun time. We shouldn’t have to worry about our clothes receiving blame, waking up in an unfamiliar place or having to vigilantly watch the bartender pour our drink.

It’s as if all respect for others has vanished as time has gone. The humanity that existed in decades past has been suppressed as we’ve hidden further behind our screens. We’ve forgotten how to interact with the people who exist in the same space we do, how to connect, how to talk to others and how to be decent human beings.

The college experience today is not the same as it was 10 years ago.

College is supposed to be the bridge between childhood and adulthood, where you have more responsibility and a platform to freely exist. All we have now is more responsibility and an increased understanding of how cruel the world is.

The world is a scary place, especially while we are discovering it, but it shouldn’t be as malicious as it is. We shouldn’t fear for our safety in everything we do. Our safety should be an unspoken guarantee.

LSU, you need to do better. Baton Rouge, you need to do better. Humanity, we owe it to ourselves to do better. Wake up! Nothing changes if nothing is changed.

Don’t wait until the next headline because by then humanity may be broken beyond repair.

Lauren Madden is a 22-year-old mass communication senior from Mandeville.

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