On college campuses all throughout the nation, more and more victims everyday of sexual assault are stepping forward and reporting their incident to the authorities. Still, only a small portion of all assaults are brought forward, allowing the offender to continue to roam freely around colleges threatening other victims . Very few cases are investigated properly or in a timely manner, and even less end in conviction of the perpetrator. Men frequently use alcohol and other drugs as means to coerce women into having sex, and some simply use force against their victim to make them vulnerable. While almost all incidences of sexual assault are the acts of men, women are oftentimes blamed for what happened. Women are held responsible for they way they are dressed or act, while men face a little to no reprimanding for their actions. Many efforts towards awareness and prevention of sexual assault are focused on women defending themselves.
All throughout the nation a significant amount of campus rapes in the United States go unreported. Sexual assault is a far too common problem in our nation today, recently reported from the RAINN (The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) program was that someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. The vast majority of sexual assaults are committed against women between the ages of 15 and 25, making college-aged women the group with the highest vulnerability to being assaulted. In fact, according to Kelly Walker from campusspeak.com, and a sexual assault survivor, one in four women will be raped during their college experiences. A female’s first year at a college are at higher risk and more exposed to sexual assault, according to the Northeastern University Police Department. Kelly’s theory as well as the RAINN factual statement tie in together to make a strong appeal that sexual assault on campus is very likely it is just a matter of when.
In most states, the legal definition of first or second degree sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual contact and/or intercourse. Consent is a critical factor when determining if sexual assault has occurred. If a victim doesn’t consent to engaging in sexual activity with another individual, than the act is legally defined as sexual assault. Historically, rapes and sexual assaults were believed to be perpetrated against women by strangers, but current data reveals it is more likely to happen to a women from a man they are acquainted with. Estimates show that 82 percent of all victims of sexual assault know their assailant.
Ex-Stanford student Brock Turner was found guilty this year of three felony counts of sexual assault. Under California law, turner is not technically a rapist because he didn’t penetrate the victim. Instead, prosecutors could only charge him with sexual assault. A lesser charge, because he penetrated her with a foreign object. California is one of many states with such a narrow definition of rape, and lawmakers are trying to adjust that. Following Turners sentencing, state Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D) introduced legislation that would make california define rape like the FBI does: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person” without consent.
Rape is the most underreported crime, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource center, which estimates that 63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to the police. The numbers are even smaller if you only consider college students, Fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of women in college were reported to law enforcement officials, according to a BJS/Department of Justice study released in 2000. That number drops even lower for other forms of sexual assault .It’s hard to get a guilty verdict in sexual assault trials. So prosecutors typically concerned with their conviction rates and facing limited time and resources have a “perverse incentive” to pursue only the strongest cases that offer the highest probability of a win, a 2012 study on justice for sexual assault victims found.
A huge factor that usually tends to play out in these cases are these college students being under the influence of drugs and or alcohol.Rape and sexual assault typically happen behind closed doors, making it very hard to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was no consent, which law requires. Due to majority of assaults are committed by people the victims know, it’s rare that there are witnesses to these crimes. With Alcohol playing a factor involved in these cases as well, which police and prosecutors note make for imperfect memories. When Vanderbilt University football players were convicted for a rape that took place in 2013, they rejected arguments that the guys had made a “drunken mistake”. Later, the juries were exposed to surveillance footage showing the accused men carrying their victim as she was unconscious and one of them later coming out to block the security camera. The footage was released and noticed when the university was investigating a vandalism case. The victim was unaware of being raped up until she was exposed to the footage. The victim in Turner’s case was also not aware of the incident until the authorities told her, witnesses called the cops after seeing her laying behind a dumpster, while holding Turner.
Most think of rape as an attack by a stranger. Majority of these attacks are reported to the Police, but fact is that most rapes are by someone the victim knows which makes the case and reporting very difficult. Often times, the case will come down to “he said, she said” with zero witnesses and few evidence. At times, the victim can be accused of making it up, although studies shown that only 2-3 percent or rape reports are false.
Under the gender equality law title IX, any school getting federal funding has to investigate reports of sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Courts have held schools accountable that they must address sexual harassment, and assault is the most extreme form of harassment under civil rights law. Another issue is that even after colleges find students responsible for any type of assault or rape, they usually do not expel them. Like most universities after the incident they do not mark it on their transcript. Fewer than one-third cases are expelled from their school.
Many solutions can be formed to prevent sexual assault on college campuses and to lessen the current percentage such as, making a crisis intervention service available every day of the school year, and make free emergency contraception, antibiotics and post exposure HIV preventative treatment available in school health centers. Another reason why people may not speak up on being a victim of sexual assault would be if they were under the influence and they may have the mindset of being punished, due to that reason promote reporting of sexual assaults by better handling of reports, having peer educators and advocates, as well as assuring them that victims will not be punished if they report an assault that occurred while they were drinking or under the influence of drugs. Another issue is one that should be required which is administer appropriate discipline which includes explosion to limit that type of environment. If they don’t get disciplined for it then the attacker will think it is okay.
Sexual assault and rape is one of the most threatening act in college, there are many ways to prevent it and all it takes is one of the solutions above to lessen the statistic and get rid of such a hostile environment. More voices need to be heard as well as action plans towards ending this. This issue has become so accustomed to society and new cases and new victims are affected by it everyday, college should not be a place of danger and worry and it not only affects a humans mental and emotional state but as well as academically.
“Campus Speakers Bureau and Consulting Firm – Educational Custom Programs.” CAMPUSPEAK, www.campuspeak.com/.
This website helped me gain more information on the topic sexual assault, abuse, rape, etc. Mainly focused on the campuses an narrowed down sexualassault within the college campuses. The website also provided real victims of the issue and their solutions and steps the universities should take.
DeHahn, Patrick. “Study: 89% of Colleges Reported Zero Campus Rapes in 2015.” College.usatoday.com, Title IX , 11 May 2017, college.usatoday.com/2017/05/11/study-89-of-colleges-reported-zero-campus-rapes-in-2015/.
College USA today provided statistics on they amount of unreported rapes and the very few that do the consequences that follow the attacker. Reading this website puts sexual assault in a deeper perspective and explains the issues that people don’t know about.
“InvestigateWest » Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Culture of Indifference.” InvestigateWest, Christopher Anderson , www.invw.org/sexual-assault/.
Investigate west gave evidence, statistics and also let us know how it is growing so much that this problem is getting too common that it is a “regular” thing on college campuses, while and after it is happening the chances of the victim coming forward is very unlikely due to them knowing their attacker.
“Safety & Prevention.” RAINN| The Nation’s Largest Anti-Sexual Organization, RAINN, www.rainn.org.
“Statistics.” Know Your IX, Advocates for Youth, www.knowyourix.org/issues/statistics/.
The Hunting Ground. “The Truth About Statistics of Sexual Assault in College.” The Hunting Ground, 31 Jan. 2017, thehuntinggroundfilm.com/2017/01/the-truth-about-statistics-of-sexual-assault-in-college/.
This website explained Title IX the purpose of it and why we have it. Title IX is a federal law that no person in the United States, shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.”
United States, Congress, Office of Justice Programs.
“Https://Www.bjs.gov/Index.cfm?Ty=Tp&Tid=317.” Https://Www.bjs.gov/Index.cfm?Ty=Tp&Tid=317, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 7 Dec. 2017. www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=317.
This website was a bureau of statistics based on the previous years of sexual assault on college campuses and helped complete my research within the topic of rape.