White House Enters College Sexual Assault Fray
In the six plus years that we have been writing about the topic of sexual assaults on college campuses, there have been many attempts to address the issue. Laws have been passed, taskforces have been formed, forums have discussed it, students have protested against it and university officials say all the right things. But to be perfectly honest, the situation hasn’t changed and so all those attempts have been futile.
The outrage over college sexual assaults has finally reached the White House. Recently at a press conference President Obama expressed his concern about the issue in terms of being the father of two daughters who are rapidly approaching college-age.
He also reviewed the alarming statistics that have been around forever: that one in five women is sexually assaulted during her college years; that only 12% of all attacks are even reported; that 72% of campus assault victims have been drunk when attacked; that close to 90% of all perpetrators of these crimes are known to the victims; and perhaps the most astonishing of all is that fewer than 3% of all these felony assaults ever get prosecuted.
The victims suffer for their entire life. The perpetrators get a slap on the wrist if anything. What is wrong with this picture?
So to say that there is an outrage about this issue nationwide is an understatement. President Obama has renewed a push in a different direction to press universities on their responsibilities.
Title IX is a 1972 law preventing sex discrimination in education at institutions that receive federal funding, which is practically all of them. The feeling is that title IX gives women a federally enforceable right to be safe on a college campus.
The task force that the president formed will look at how universities respond to allegations, how to enhance education programs and also how to address the health needs of victims so they can pursue their education in peace.
Both President Obama and VP Biden singled out men as silent bystanders, so to speak. They are calling out males on college campuses to change their behavior. That is a start! But the way the universities handle these complaints of campus assaults has got to change.
The feeling, by many, is that men have been emboldened by two actions or should we say inactions. The first one is that so few sexual assaults are even reported. The second is that when they are reported, there is usually no consequence. So men feel it’s a risk-free felony.
As we have reported before, universities need to get out of the investigation and prosecution process and turn it over to law enforcement who have much more experience and resources to successfully pursue the crime. Universities have a vested interest in keeping the crime statistics down on their campuses, thus the lackadaisical attitude in pursuit of these crimes.
In the meantime, women need to learn how to defend themselves by taking some self-defense classes and purchasing and using self-defense products such as pepper sprays and stun guns where they are legal.
Our guess is that nothing is going to change, which heightens the need for women to be proactive in their own self-defense.
We still strongly recommend that women on college campuses, especially, carry a self-defense product for personal safety to protect themselves against an assault with one of our close to 200 Pepper Sprays or one of our 123 Powerful Stun Devices.