College Campuses and Rape. Our Women Deserve The Truth. And Justice.


January 30, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

Rape protest sign

On campuses across our country, both private and public, female students are being sexually assaulted and raped in increasing numbers. What’s worse, after suffering the physical and mental anguish and trauma of such attacks, many are then left praying and waiting for justice. Justice, that for many, never comes.


Part of the reason is that in a number of instances, campus administrators first priority seems to be trying to sweep the incident under the rug. Let’s face it, sexual assaults, especially rapes are not good for business. Tends to discourage new recruits from enrolling. Tends to make parents of prospective parents think twice about entrusting the lives of their daughters to a campus with sexually motivated violence.

student and parent

Look dad, it’s all good. I’ll be safe.

And with the average cost of going to college these days spiraling out of control (average 4 year public school is $22,000 per year and private is up to $35,000 annually) what college administrator can afford to lose too many of these cash cows before they start having to shut its doors?


How much is too much?

In 2011, Amherst College female student Angie Epifano was raped by an acquaintance. Despite her pleas to counselors, administrators and campus police she was discouraged from pressing charges as this apparently, would hurt the Amherst “brand.” Her request to change dorm rooms was denied and just to make sure she was treated with dignity and respect the police checked her into a psychiatric ward.

In 2010, Sasha Courey, a 19 year old female, attending the University of Missouri on a swim team scholarship was allegedly raped by not 1, not 2, but 3 male players on the U of MO Tigers football team. Another member of the team even claimed to have seen a video tape of the rape where young Sasha could be heard begging for them to stop and repeatedly screaming “No.”

Despite her pleas to university officials, including a counselor, the attack was not reported to Columbia, MO Police. Her parents even today are still demanding the  University investigate the rape. Officials claim jurisdictional issues and say it’s a matter for other authorities. Only after a recent ESPN report about this tragedy did the local police finally say they’d look into the incident.

In the wake of the attack, Sasha struggled with bouts of heightened anxiety and depression. She simply could not cope with both being a victim twice. First at the hands of her brutal attackers. Then, again, from the deafening silence of those she thought would at least try to bring her justice.

In February of 2011, Sasha, this once vibrant, student-athlete with a bright future took her own life. Finally, her pain subsided.

sasha coury u MO

Gone. Not forgotten.

Recently, President Obama declared that it was time to “take a stand” on sexual assaults on campuses across our nation.

The President declared that ” No one is more at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted than women at our nation’s colleges or universities.” And he called upon our male students to “summon the bravery and to stand up along with us.”

He also established a White House Task Force to generate proposals to address what his Administration is now calling “a public health epidemic.”

The White House Council on Women and Girls also released some very troubling statistics that every parent and student needs to be aware of as we engage in a collective debate as how best to “cure” this epidemic.

Nearly 2 out of every 5 female students will be assaulted at some point during college. Out of fear, out of a belief it will make no difference, perhaps both, well over 85% of all sexual assaults go unreported. The majority of campus rapes will be committed by an acquaintance of the victim. Over 65% of the rapists are repeat offenders, with at least 30% of them committing 6 or more rapes during their college days.

Regrettably, life outside of college doesn’t ensure safety from such attacks. Over 22 million females and 1.6 million males will be the victim of sexual assaults at one point in their lifetime.

Clearly, this is an issue that should concern all of us.

But why is President Obama speaking out now and is it really a problem appropriate for federal intervention?

Besides being a husband and a father to two girls quickly becoming college age as he pointed out, the president is also concerned that far too many of our colleges and universities are simply not complying with the law.

obama and family

His concern. Should be ours too.

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in higher education, and certainly, looking the other way, discouraging the pressing of charges or knowingly not taking action against male perpetrators clearly violates this Act. Also, the Violence Against Women Act and the Clery Act have a number of provisions that require all schools to disclose the number and type of all crimes that occurred on their campus.

However, organizations like Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER) claim that over 35% of all schools routinely violate these provisions. They also “grade” each school. And it’s not just students whose grades may be slipping. SAFER says 80% of colleges get a “C” or below and nearly 25% get a flat “F” when it comes to ensuring campus safety and complying with federal laws.

The bottom-line?

We are simply not keeping our promise to do the right thing for our women on campuses across our nation. We are putting the business of making profit and protecting a certain university or college “Brand” ahead of protecting its most precious commodity-its students. Or, maybe we’ve already forgotten the lessons learned at Penn State University?


Proud school. Damaged brand.

Look, I’ve taught full-time and as an adjunct at various universities and colleges, public and private, for over 15 years. I’ve heard all the tired and frankly, empty excuses attempting to condone or diminish this problem. I know far too many of our young women and men get caught up doing things they shouldn’t. Drugs, alcohol, letting their guard down at places and with people they should not.

boy and girl drinking

But still. Rape is never justified. And the “crime” of making poor social decisions never makes a woman fair game for being raped or sexually assaulted.

And while I realize it is not just to place all the blame at the doorsteps of our campus administrators it is equally irresponsible to pass up their doors when doling out the blame.

Sure, like everything, it starts at home. Young boys raised to respect young girls tend to grow into men who respect women. And young girls properly schooled on what you can and cannot do when on your own tend to make wiser and possibly, life-saving decisions.

But still.

Our Colleges and Universities need to take a stand along with our president on this issue and fully commit to putting their students first. If not now, when?

There is progress. More campuses are raising awareness, holding workshops, taking preventive measures. But it’s when the rubber hits the road that our colleges simply cannot blink. Because, as Dr. King said, there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing. In all instances. And ensuring that our women, and yes, also our men, graduate never knowing the trauma that Sash and Angie knew all too well is the right thing to do.

Because what they ended up paying for their tuition was too high a price.

college students

We are all someone’s daughters and sons.

Peace. Please read more below the Tiger about how you, yes you, can help prevent such assaults to the future…..


Do you agree that we need to do more, much more to protect our women on college campuses across America? To protect for that matter all of our students from sexual assault, rape and the emotional trauma from being victimized?

Of course you do.

But how can you, one person, make a difference?

It starts with getting armed with the facts. Below are several web sites I’d encourage you to click on to learn more. The first one is a national organization advocating on behalf of victims everywhere and is working to help educate and prevent sexual assaults. You can email them and find out ways you can help make a difference, right now, in your community.

And of course, if you have any questions or want more information on how to help contact me directly.

Get involved today so someone you love won’t ever have to be a victim in the future.











43 thoughts on “College Campuses and Rape. Our Women Deserve The Truth. And Justice.

  1. jmsabbagh says:

    Its time women have a unified voice to face the threats on every campus.The epidemic of rape is invading the world and UN is doing nothing.jalal

  2. Kameron M says:

    This a serious topic, I think having the physical and mental disorders of being raped is tragic! I feel as though if a student at a college has an incident like this and the administration just sweeps it under the rug then the administration should be the ones under serious heat.

  3. Amanda R says:

    I am a parent of a 18 year old female student attending college. She’s a first year student. And already what she’s told me (heaven knows what else is going on I don’t know) makes me cringe. It seems too many girls are putting themselves in bad situations and trusting that they won’t get hurt or worse. And like the article notes, many of these assaults and rapes happen from someone these girls already know! So, you can’t be too careful. But colleges need to do a LOT more to help keep women safer. And trying to discourage girls from not pressing charges to protect their “brand” is unforgiveable..

  4. Kelly M says:

    I am a third year student and already have had 2 really close calls, first one was at an off-campus party and the second was in my own dorm. While nothing “happened” let’s just say I am a lot less trusting now. And I never drink from someone else’s glass. never. Too many creeps hanging around thinking it’s funny to get girls to pass out

  5. Taylr T says:

    Unfortunately, I have encountered an incident where I was almost physically assaulted. The guy just came out of nowhere trying to make something happen. Thankfuly he was extremely intoxicated so he was not too forceful and I got away as quickly as possible. You can never be too careful when it comes to certain situations we put ourselves in. Its a shame that so many assualts and rapes go unreported and when they do, there still is barely anything done!

  6. K. Denise says:

    When in high school, I maybe only heard of two young girls being sexually assaulted. It was a huge deal and gossiped about for weeks on end. I have only attended college for a semester, and already I am disgusted by the difference. It seems like every other girl I talk to has been raped or taken advantage of in one way or another. The conversations I currently hear are along the lines of, “Oh, you’ve been raped? Yeah me too.” I myself have been in three situations where I was lucky and had the opportunity to get out. But to this day I have nightmares about how easily those situations could’ve turned out differently.
    It is beyond sad that rape is happening so frequently, but I am happy to hear that people are finally trying to make a stand.

  7. Britleigh R says:

    That is so selfish of colleges and universities to put themselves and their names above the students. Students pay an arm and a leg just to attend the school. The least they could do is protect us students and our peace of mind so we can continue our education. It’s outrageous to see the amount of students that are assaulted and the amount that do not get any justice.

  8. Lauren T says:

    Being a female college student, I definitely believe that females should come together to raise awareness to this issue. God forbid one of my friends or even myself get raped, but if it does happen, I would want justice! I think that it is really selfish of those Universities to not investigate the rapes to save the reputation of their school. College boys are very aggressive and as females we naturally have a disadvantage of not being able to defend ourselves from them; we should at least be able to get 100% effort into solving our case of assault. Feeling safe on campus is something that we should be insured. The thought of being overlooked in something as serious as assault is not a comfortable feeling.

  9. Kirshana C says:

    Being raped is never something to just sweep under the rug. If safety is something a college preaches they have then they should fulfill that promise. Having to encounter what Angie or Sasha went through is one of my biggest fears. That thought has me to keep my guards up at all times and trust very few people. If students felt like they had the support of the colleges and universities to support them if something like this did happen maybe more incidents would be reported and people would not have to become depressed from all the trauma and maybe commit suicide.

  10. Kyle B says:

    In my entire life, I have only met one victim of sexual assault. She was obviously very traumatized at the time following the act, and didn’t fully recover for the next few years. However, she did recover and opened up about it with us. After hearing about her story, I realized that sexual assault on females can occur without warning, and through no fault of the victim. Some believe that women “ask” to be raped due to the way they dress, or going out alone at night. But this just isn’t true. I think that women CAN help themselves prevent these scenarios by maybe staying on the phone with someone if they walk alone at night, or having a safety buddy with them at parties to keep them safe. I think that these kind of awareness articles need to be viral, because it’s not fair that women have to live in fear.

  11. Kay A. L. says:

    I agree that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. I’m also not surprised that the majority of colleges don’t follow the safety guidelines either. It’s not the brightest idea to be walking alone late at night, but when I do, there are no police around and it’s very dark. However, some of the blame can’t be placed solely on school administrators. Some females put themselves in a situation where they can be taken advantage of and some boys put themselves in a situation where they allow their peers to convince them to do things they know they shouldn’t.

    I think that it’s great President Obama is trying to raise awareness on this issue.

  12. Nubian W says:

    I am a first year student and I’ve already attended two colleges. I can say from personal experience that sexual assault is a very serious issue. I had a female friend and she came really close to being sexually assaulted when she trusted a mutual male friend. They were in his room doing work and he locked the door and tried to assault her. I completely agree that it is usually someone you “think” is your friend or you “think” you can trust. They take advantage of your trust and your friendship and think it wouldn’t be rape because you are friends which is completely un-true. It is sad that the administrators would try to keep rape a secret just to keep their “brand” pure. Little do they know, if they try to hide it and the allegations get out, it will only make parents not want to send their children to that institution at all. I feel everyone should come together to stop rape. There should be workshops for guys to let them know that NO means NO and let them know how far is TOO far. There should also be workshops for girls to help keep them aware and let them know how to protect themselves and how to avoid situations like these. Likewise the college administrators should be obligated to have workshops to let them know that rape is an issue and SHOULD NOT be swept under the rug. Makes me wonder why they ban protective arms like stun guns and pepper spray on campus especially when rape is becoming more and more frequent!

  13. Tammy S says:

    Reading this article I have no doubt the author really understands what is needed on campuses everywhere-more commitment to protecting women and really, all students, but girls, women, they are most vulnerable. I hope lots of people read this and all the great comments and take action-now!

  14. Amber G says:

    Being a young college girl, I know the fear of being on college campus knowing that there might be a rapist lurking right throw the window. The only time I feel somewhat safe is when I am around a police. Sad isn’t?

  15. zbsaxon says:

    Though being raped is never the fault of the victim, I believe certain steps could be taken, particularly by the female gender, in helping prevent such atrocious acts. Things like a buddy system is a fairly common and successful practice that gives these women someone to help watch and take care of them. There will always be those guys who do these things and get away with it, as most men, if I ever witnessed or knew of something like that going around me I would stop it at all cost. But the sad part of the story is that too often people are not around. Being aware of your surroundings, choosing your company wisely, and making sure you’re not the only female in the vicinity are all key aspects to staying safe in any instance, not just when alcohol or any substance is involved.

  16. Jasen P says:

    After reading this article I was disgusted that these schools weren’t doing anything about these rape charges just to protect their school. I believe that rape is wrong and that by not doing anything to these rapist is just giving them power to hurt another young girl. I think that these schools don’t need to take these things lightly and they need to stop these awful act from happening. But, after thinking about it, rape is one of those things that are hard to stop unless you see the act happening right in front of your face. So in a way these schools have no way in stopping it unless they treat the school like a prison and take all of our rights as human beings away.

  17. Nia R says:

    Rape is never a soft issue to just throw under the rug. Many colleges and other places just don’t comply with the law to continue making money. There should be some serious intervention when it comes to anyone being raped touched and sexually assaulted. Sadly this has been happening for years and sadly again no college or university has done anything to help the situation. It is vital and important that women are protected and shielded from sexual assault. I have plenty of sisters, female cousins, female friends and a girlfriend. I would be deathly devastated if anything were to happen to them while attending school or any place else. Schools should be penalized for not complying with the law and handling these cases correctly. Males are also victims of sexual assault but because it is a man no one will care. Laws need to be changed and enforced.

  18. Mark M says:

    It is pretty outrageous how campuses fail to comply with “rape” laws when campus police are paid to enforce such laws. In the example of Sasha, what I saw was a life that the local campus could of avoided. The only reason they did not want to do anything was to maintain the integrity of the campus. Well, my question is, how is it like to have one’s life on their head and do they have the same integrity that they started with?

  19. K E C says:

    Schools should be more worried about their students and not reputation of the school. They need to enforce more rules that could at least minimize the amount of rape incidents. These girls are there to learn and shouldn’t have to be worried about being victimized by a rapist.

  20. Sarah D says:

    I agree completely with the statement that rape is not and will never be the fault of the victim. I would agree that sexual assault on college campuses is a growing problem. However, it is not just on college campuses that this tragedy is taking place. Hundreds of women are sexually assaulted or raped in our country every day. Some college student, some mothers, some children, some teenagers, but the growing attention surrounding sexual assault being voiced I am caused to question why now? I would assert that it is easy for rape to be ignored or brushed aside when the victim is of a low social status or low income area, but when the victim is a respectable young lady from a respectable family attending a respectable institution it is harder to ignore.

  21. Benjamin N says:

    Across the board, rape is not treated as seriously as it should be. When someone is raped, they are forever scarred by the attack. No matter what the girl has done or what position she is in, if she says “stop” and the guy does not stop, that is rape. Then fact that colleges are not punishing or even investigating these attacks is extremely sad. Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault. By not punishing rapists, colleges are allowing more attacks to happen. They should be held accountable for the rapes of previous offenders and be faced with charges themselves.

  22. Shantel W says:

    This is definitely becoming a growing issue and it should not be. We walk around our campuses freely and under the assumptions that should anything happen we have the option to run to a trusted official seeking justice and comfort. And yet all we really get is bargain of keeping our education for our silence. Why is it like that?

  23. Marley B says:

    Rape is a touchy subject for many people. Our culture finds it touchy because we find shame in it, yet we allow it to happen far to often. Rape DOES happen on college campuses. It is not a university’s fault for the sexual assault, but rather the fault happens when a university chooses to do nothing about the crime. I would much rather attend a school that makes its students aware that rape happens ( while being told what programs they have implemented to protect me) opposed to going somewhere that talks nothing about rape or their effort to prevent it. Sweeping rape under the rug hurts a school’s population.

    • Marley-Agreed, though it seems too many schools are wary of even taking that risk and arguably, treating prospective students and parents as adults who know it happens but want to see what each school is doing to reduce and possibly eliminate on their campus…Shantel-obviously the schools named in the article did not address or confront, in my opinion, the issues that should have been, some schools are doing a better job than others BUT to your point whenever you have a campus population of males and females and vulnerable, even risky situations it will keep being a problem-

  24. David P says:

    It’s sad that rape is something that is happening so much on college campuses. But what is even worse is the fact that the administrators are more worried about continuing to make money off of the students than they are about the students’ safety. Everyone should have a fair chance to know about the crimes like these that have been committed on campus.

  25. LaMoya N says:

    This topic is so true. Most of the times why college girls refuse speak up about being raped is because they are scared of what others will say. In college, mostly everyone wants to be involved in sexual intercourses. When girls go to parties, guys often assume that they want it, but when a girl says no then a boy should stop. Girls often do not want to press charges because victims are often sometimes viewed as the offenders. People are often scared that the little incident can do more damage uncovered than it can covered. So then, they start to try and hush the individual. I, for one, think that it is appalling how individuals/universities sweep incidents under the rug just so they can keep their image or money. I also think that it is about time that individuals, specifically the president, have begun to try to take a stand against this injustice.

  26. Chris C says:

    I feel like this is a problem because of the fact that most college campuses are out in the open so it is hard for students to be safe at all times. I feel like the best way to go about this situation that is plaguing female college students all throughout our country is by having instilling more efficient security personnel and procedures to help keep female students safe. Although there are many things that can be done, unfortunately, this problem will never completely go away because of the way the world we live in is.

  27. Vander says:

    This is a serious problem for our students.One that cannot be solved by hiring more campus security. Campus police are the same as the local police. They are not there to prevent crimes, but to deal with the aftermath of the crime. It still leaves victims, and those victims are never the same. The administrators will unfortunately not punish students who are favorable for the school, i.e. student-athletes. Unfortunately, that seems to be the main persons responsible for these actions. Schools have let certain student-athletes get away with things as minor as homework grades to things as serious as rape.

    One possible action I think can reduce, or at least start to reduce, the violence against our students would be to allow students to carry on campus. There was a story not to long ago about a young woman, who had a conceal carry permit of her state, that was raped not to far from a campus security office. And not 50 feet from where her pistol was securely locked in her vehicle, as per university regulations. If she had been able to carry her weapon with her the end result might have been different. Yes she would have had to deal with the after-effects of killing someone, but she still would not have to deal with the feeling of helplessness that she now feels.

    Now, it is not a big shock that I am a pro-gun advocate. I was in the military and have close friends who were sexually assaulted both in the military and at university. This problem hits home for me. With all of my friends who had this happen to them, they came to me shortly after to learn how to defend themselves. I feel that all students who are legally able to carry off campus should be allowed to carry on campus.

  28. Jasmine C says:

    Tragic! I think that campus security should not wait until after something this terrible has happened, then decide that its time to crack down on security. Then covering things up to save their own jobs is weak and low. If they are so worried about their reputation, then they should follow security measures from the beginning to ensure the safety of the students, because after all, the school exists to benefit the interests (education) of the students.

  29. Yassir A says:

    This a serious topic, the statistics showed that the number of girls who get raped is increasing. sometimes being raped could cause some physical and mental disorders. campus must be the place where everyone should feel comfortable, not a place to feel that someone is watching you

  30. Brittany T says:

    It’s so sad that universities would just throw rape cases under a rug just so it wont hurt their business their main goal should be justice and trying to help this girls that are traumatized. I think the girls should continue to press charges even if hurts the name of the school because the school failed to handle the situation the right way.

  31. sherrea says:

    ” A woman unique identity is ripped away by some man ability to over power her ” This is sick injustice behavior, however it occurs every 36 minutes out of the day in the united states. One out of every five women has been a victim of some type of sexually assault . This is just horrible and especially when it occurs on college campus , because at this time young women are still developing there sense of identity in this world. However I feel theres no way for our society to removed this because since the beginning of time women have only been looked upon as a item and not as a human being. A world without rape will only exist in Heaven.

  32. Casey Holcom says:

    It’s horrible that campuses are able to get away with things like this. It reminds me of the NFL and NBA where the rules of the workplace are different so they can get away with bullying and the like. Campuses should comply to the rules just like everyone else and crimes should be reported. Refusing to do so is a criminal act.

  33. Jacki G says:

    This is very sad. I think a lot of young women are afraid to report rape because of the widely accepted notion that if it happened, the woman was making a comparably poor choice (to the raper’s act of rape) to put herself in the situation in the first place. I have had countless arguments with many people, mostly males, who believe that two parties are nearly always guilty when a rape occurs.

    Of course the worst thing is that administrators are turning a blind eye because they do not want to taint their image. Very disappointing.

  34. Karen P W says:

    I think you have made so many accurate points. Everyone has a role to play in honoring the person and safety of others. Universities solicit families under the notion that your child will be safe with us. A new H.S. grad does not even have a fully developed mind acc. to human development concepts, so ad to that an “free” atmosphere and you have a recipe with the potential for mass chaos. too much of the concern is about revenue. Why else would a dry campus allow beer at its football games. Our system is broken when it can be justified to break the law by looking the other way when someone has been violated on their watch and even premises.

    The education on how to keep oneself safe has to begin early. But, it is so hard particularly when even our 2 yr old girls are put in short skirts and halter tops. I am frequently disappointed as a mother of 3 girls when I cannot find a single pair of jeans that do not attempt to show every non-existent curve of their MINOR bodies. I have to be very deliberate early to say how to present your self and to protect your body. And most importantly, do not believe the Victoria Secret displays slapping you in the face in the mall. You don’t market yourself! You keep your beauty to yourself!

    Many freshmen girls specifically, come to the campus wide-eyed just as any other student. Some may not have been very popular in school, so are easy prey for simple compliments and advances that can lead to tragic situations. Some think everyone is just having a good time, underestimating the malicious intents of a peer. That education piece is so vital on many levels and in our society the majority of it starts as soon as the doctor says, “It’s a girl!”or even “It’s a boy!”

    I do hope for justice for all of these individuals and for a place of healing, peace, and the courage to live on! It doesn’t have to be the end and we as a nation need to be held accountable to stand with and up for victims and their families!

  35. chester m says:

    This is a real serious topic that is on the rise. I work as an investigator and I deal with rape victims a lot. Its not just happening a lot in the schools but its going on everywhere. A lot of men are raped also but they do not report it and the same goes for women. When I was in college I had two friends that were raped when they were really intoxicated. It was really troubling watching them try to move forward. I believe more training and briefings should be done in colleges to stop this problem.

  36. hlwaits says:

    Dr. R, this is such an important post for young men and women to read. I volunteer at a women’s shelter in Valdosta and this happens more than we would like to admit. This is a scary real situation that college students need to be aware of. I am always aware of my surroundings now and I try not to live in fear but I do keep in mind that not everyone is a nice person. I have multiple friends that have been sexual assaulted especially at college functions where alcohol was involved. I am so happy to hear that universities are finally doing something about this.

  37. Kathy J says:

    This original blog was posted in January 2014. Fast forward over two years to May 2016. The news headlines this week announce that the findings of an outside investigation have determined that another University mishandled accusations of sexual assaults by football players. The university’s president was demoted and the football coach fired. Victims revealed that their reports were either not investigated or not handled properly.

    In a recent article by an NFL player he admits to not understanding “the true definition of consent” during his college years. A decade later he understands that the events that male students bragged about were actually sexual assaults.

    How do we make our college campuses safe again? Is education the answer?

    • Kathy J-could be part of the solution but I deliberated doing a blog on this topic but honestly, I got depressed. I thought, nothing has changed since 2 years prior with the first blog. It seems to me that until we stop objectifying women and sex with them as some sort of trophy or conquest or conversely conflating male toughness with forced sex or sexual abuse things won’t change. I can’t fathom why football players and coaches like at that high school recently equated beating up a player and sodomizing him as “toughening him up.”
      Maybe others have the answer to that one.

  38. gljackson33 says:

    When it comes to women on college campuses being, it looks like everyone wants to blame the women. It is like we are the ones who are responsible for the action of the other person. Women are not the blame and if they are rape the person who committed the crime should be held accountable. This is the world that we live in we didn’t choose it for ourselves.

  39. Daniel T says:

    As the father of two daughters, when they were leaving for college I told them that not only couldn’t they afford to get drunk, but they also couldn’t afford to leave their drink unobserved whether they were drinking any alcohol or not. It’s a sad commentary that the world hasn’t gotten better in the decade since those conversations took place.

    College administrators bear much of the responsibility for not working more aggressively to address the situation. The military has the same problem and the statistics are similar, but the military has (finally) moved aggressively with training to inform all involved that it isn’t OK and it isn’t the victims fault. The mix of young people and alcohol is volatile but that doesn’t excuse the very people who ask us to entrust them with our children so that they can shepherd them into adulthood to enable predators or to be predators themselves.

    When I took my youngest on a college visit, the President of a small liberal arts school in the South addressed the parents at a reception. He addressed sexual assault and said that rather than ruining the boys life, he liked to bring them in and explain the seriousness of the behavior to ensure that the kid learned and didn’t repeat the behavior. He was eloquent and at first what he was saying sounded reasonable. Then it occurred to me that he was talking about enabling some punk to rape my daughter and protecting him from the police. My thought was that if he were to keep the police out of it, that I’d have to deal with the punk myself.

    Just this year, there have been stories from the state of Alabama about students being victimized at the two largest institutions. At the University of Alabama, a prominent (rich and politically connected) local citizen was accused for raping a student. The student didn’t get support from the Tuscaloosa police, didn’t get adequate support from the University, returned to Texas and killed herself. At Auburn University, there is a scandal just coming to light about an assistant softball coach having inappropriate relations with players, his father, the head coach, being an enabler. There are questions about the Athletic Director, what he knew, when, and did the administration attempt to cover it up.

    I’m sure these are not isolated incidents. As a society, we need to take sexual assault on campus as seriously as any other place and not just write off predators as drunk kids.

  40. Justin W says:

    With the tidal wave of announcements about allegations of sexual assault or harassment in Hollywood and elsewhere, I think it’s an appropriate time to revisit this post.

    Many newspapers cite an increase in sexual assault on campuses. But is it happening more or was it just previously under-reported?

    I think it is healthy for our society to talk openly about this issue. Open discussions will not only encourage more women (and men) to talk to each other about it, but to report it, to seek treatment and counseling afterward if appropriate, and to ultimately raise public awareness for the need to have tighter legal language surrounding this issue, whether that’s a federal ‘no means no’ law like Germany recently enacted or simply state laws that make it clear what activity is prohibited, define how to know when that activity occurs, and what minimum sentencing requirements are.

    These open discussions will also hopefully solidify norms surrounding this type of activity, including the norms for what victims can do and say leading up to a presumed or ongoing and unwanted sexual encounter, norms for what instigators should do when having predatory thoughts, and norms for what witnesses should do when they see sexually predatory activity occurring or sense that it will occur.

    Finally, I hope these discussions also broaden the issue. This is not just about college students. It’s not just about what happens at or after a party when things get out of hand. Sexual assault can happen to a couple that has been married for years. It can happen to men. It can happen at a workplace. And none of these people should be embarrassed about bringing these claims forward to the authorities.

    Let’s continue talking openly about sexual assault. Already we have seen efforts at college campuses to increase the presence of security officers, better educate students on the meaning of consent, and provide counselors to help victims. Although we will never make sexual assault go away entirely, hopefully our discussions can lead to similar preventative and consultative actions elsewhere, more reporting of crimes, new behavioral norms, and if not new laws than at least new sentencing precedents so we can avoid another Brock Turner situation.

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