Assaults On Campus-Beyond The Talk
To set the stage and offer some background for this story, we refer you to another story we did on The Never Ending Problem Of Campus Assaults where “one in seven first-year college students experienced incapacitated assault or rape and nearly one in ten have experienced forcible assault or rape.”
Every study that we have ever seen shows the same statistics on campus assaults even though some big-time heavyweights in the private and public sector have tried their best to offer solutions. The long and the short of it is, it is a never ending problem with no foreseeable solution.
In today’s article we will take a look at some stories that offer more solutions and contribute to the discussion of campus sexual assaults.
This story is about a trial and study published in the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine that May Decrease Campus Assaults. According to the story, the findings from the study may offer colleges some concrete ways to follow the government’s mandate that universities actively work to prevent sexual assaults. For example, not all colleges expel suspected rapists. As a matter of fact, schools permanently expel only 10% to 25% of students who were found responsible for sexual assault. Just as a reminder, FYI, sexual assault is a felony punishable by years in prison. But that’s in the real world, not in the unreal world of college campuses.
Anyhow back on target. The subjects in the study were all women ages 17 to 24. They were divided into two groups: the control group that was given brochures and typical sexual assault prevention training that included self-defense training, sexuality and relationship discussions, talks on overcoming emotional barriers and risk assessment and reduction. The non-control group was given no such training.
In the control group, the risk of sexual assault was reduced to 5% for students who participated in the program resulting in one less rape on campus that year.
It was felt that with the training women were able to recognize the warning signs before the crime happened and were able to reduce their risk of facing sexual assault. Ultimately, however, the responsibility stands with the people who commit the crime.
If everyone on a college campus was trained how to recognize the type of behavior that leads to the assaults of a sexual nature, it would be much harder for repeat offenders to keep preying on college students.
In a Huffington Post story, as recently as July 22nd of this year, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights was Investigating Campus Assaults at 124 higher education institutions. This represents the highest number of investigations ever by that Federal agency. What that means to us is there’s a heightened awareness at all levels. We think that’s a good thing!
The U.S. News & World Report has a story about a New Law To Curb Campus Assaults. It is the Campus Accountability And Safety Act which would amend the much broader Higher Education Act that Congress is working on to reauthorize. It would require schools to track how often sexual assaults occur on their campuses and offer confidential advisers to victims.
Sen. Patty Murray (D. Washington) told a Senate committee hearing recently that you can’t just change the rules-you have to change the culture.
One victim who appeared before the committee told them that she was urged to drop out of school and return after her rapist had graduated. That is just an example of how campuses treat victims. Part of the new bill aims to ease victims’ fears about contacting authorities by requiring universities to provide confidential advisers who can help victims decide what steps to take.
Another provision is that anonymous student surveys will be taken on the campuses to measure sexual assault with the results being made public.
Even though campus crime statistics are required to be made public by the Clery Act, it is widely felt that they are under reported. It is hoped the anonymous surveys would change that.
In another story that we did about Your Daughter’s Safety In College we cited a May, 2014 issue of Time Magazine Issue that called America’s campuses “hazardous places for young women,” especially for those who are 18 or 19 years old, just beginning their college experience.
In the 10 plus years that I have been writing about this issue, it is honest to say that not much has changed. Laws come and go as frequently as legislators change in Washington-unfortunately not often enough! But that’s another story. There have been some bizarre suggestions on how to curb this problem, everything from arming female students with handguns to making drinking illegal on campus.
The fact of the matter is you are talking about human nature at an age (17-21 year olds) when the sex drive and hormones along with the newfound freedom found on college campuses are working overtime. Toss in drugs and alcohol and all of a sudden you have an explosive situation that, in our opinion, accounts for the lack of change in results.
We have long proposed that colleges and universities stick to what they do best-doing higher education! We have said they should get out of the business of investigating and prosecuting what is a felony crime in every state in the union and leave that to the professionals of law enforcement and criminal prosecution.
Colleges and universities have a bad track record when it comes to investigating and prosecuting claims of sexual assaults on campus. There is a reason for that. They have a vested interest in protecting their reputation. They don’t want to be known as a campus where crime exists.
The other part of the equation is to arm all female students with a self-defense product such as one of our pepper sprays. A pepper spray is a highly effective nonlethal weapon with a proven track record of repelling assailants.
What secrets have you shared with your daughter about campus sexual assaults? Tell us what they are!