Is There A Solution For Campus Sexual Assaults?
It is supposed to be a fun and exciting time in the lives of young adults. But for many, the College experience has been plagued by campus sexual assaults. According to this story, Colleges and Universities are more concerned with their reputation than with the safety and security of their students.
As a matter of fact, this is a great deal of the problem. Colleges and Universities have a lot to lose by tarnishing their image. There is no faster way to do it than by having the reputation of a “rape” campus. These institutions of higher learning have developed ways to sweep rape charges “under the rug” by doing everything they can to delay investigations, sometimes as long as it takes for the offending student to graduate. If there is a punishment, it’s usually in the form of a suspension-what a joke!
As has been reported in study after study, one in five or more young women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their four years at a University.
And this is not just a local or regional issue it is a national epidemic. There are so many moving parts to this issue that we can only begin to scratch the surface.
In a recently published article where we discussed the released Congressional Report On College Campus Assaults it was revealed that 19% of undergraduate women experienced completed or attempted sexual assault since entering College.
Some of the other complicated moving parts in this tragedy are:
- “Most of these assaults were by someone the victim knew.
The culprits were often multiple offenders because they were never prosecuted.
- Close to 70% of all victims are drugged, drunk, or otherwise incapacitated.
- Only 2% of the victims actually report it to law enforcement.”
The federal report also showed that over 40% of all institutions had not conducted a single investigation of sexual assault in the last five years. It is not uncommon for offending students to be found guilty of “violating the student handbook” and having fellow students sit in their judgment. The students, if found guilty, are given very light sentences.
Over the years students around the country have taken to doing some bizarre things to draw attention to the problem. A Columbia University student has become known internationally as the “mattress girl” because she started carrying a mattress around her campus to protest a “not guilty” verdict of a man who she says raped her during her freshman orientation program. The idea has spread to campuses around the country in a program that has become known by different names among them the carry that weight campaign which picked up steam in Western states where students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs became involved.
Many students feel that the system is unapproachable mostly because of the reputation that has been gained by University officials and even in some cases by local police who pushed claims of rape on campus off to University police who are less likely to investigate the case with vigor. After all, these campus cops, have a dog in the fight as the old saying goes.
Meanwhile back in the Boston area this MIT Womens’ Survey was one of the first colleges to attempt to put a precise estimate to the prevalence of sexual assault on its campus. The survey drew 3800 student responses out of almost 11,000 who were invited to participate.
Some of their findings were:
- About 17 % of undergraduate women respondents said they had experienced unwanted behaviors that included the use of force, physical threat, or while they were incapable.
- About 80 % said that the acts occurred on campus.
- Close to 72 % said the acts were perpetrated by another student.
- More than one in five undergraduate respondents said they know someone who is a perpetrator.
- About a third of victims said they were unable to work or complete assignments, unable to eat, or experienced a drop in grades.
- A majority of student respondents said they take steps to prevent assault, including leaving a party with people they arrived with or offering to walk a drunk friend home.
- Close to half said that they had been taken advantage of when they were impaired by drugs or alcohol or otherwise incapacitated. One of the most common ways that women are drugged is by perpetrators slipping date rape drugs into drinks.
Our Drink Guard drug detector kit easily detects the two most common date rape drugs-GHB & ketamine-to help you avoid being drugged.
MIT officials said that the survey results may be subject to response bias, as is “expected in virtually any voluntary survey, particularly one focused on a narrow topic.”
In an email to the University community, President L Rafael Reif said he was “very disturbed by the extent and nature of the problem.” That sounds like a great response, but exposes the fact that he’s very naïve about the issue which is not unique to MIT but has been going around on College campuses for decades.
Is There A Solution To This Problem?
Until there is significant change in the way reports of sexual assaults on campus are handled, female victims will continue to be lax in reporting the crimes which in all jurisdictions constitute a felony. A felony assault charge on a male student can mar him for life. But that should not be the women victims’ problem. Male assailants should think about that before they commit the crime-what a concept!
In the meantime, women on campus might be well advised to do two things to help in their self-defense. First, learn some basic self-defense techniques such as the ones offered in this self-defense course taught by a rape survivor that is aimed specifically at women.
Secondly, carry and learn how to use this self-defense pepper spray as seen in ‘O’ – The Oprah Magazine. It has a ballistic stream delivery method that can fire up to 10 feet away and has enough spray for approximately 25 shots.
Defensive sprays are legal everywhere and are an effective deterrent in a close quarters assault situation where saying the word no may not be sufficient.
Have you ever been assaulted on campus. What did you do to protect yourself? Please share your experience. We want to hear your thoughts.