Sexual Assault on College Campuses

This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog

The Center for Public Integrity has released their results from a nine-month investigation into sexual assault on college campuses. Though there is plenty of valuable information in their findings, the bottom line is that most incidents of collegiate sexual assault are under reported and when they are reported, the victims (usually women) find themselves facing a number of barriers. Says Kristin Lombardi (a researcher on the project):
Nearly a third of the 33 victims said school administrators discouraged them from pursuing complaints, and about a dozen experienced confidentiality requirements "sometimes followed by threats of punishment if they were to disclose any information about the case.
The lack of justice in assault cases is not the only result from the downfall; we're also losing lives:
In the Center for Public Integrity report, the mother of a rape victim who committed suicide after her complaint to the administration was essentially ignored, says, "No wonder why so many girls don't come forward. They see what happens. They see how they are attacked all over again."

Some readers might react to these findings in a way that hearkens back to the days when there were all-girl dorms with strict curfews, but rather I believe we need to reform the way that survivors are treated on campus, and that means teaching young men AND women on campus that rape and all forms of sexual assault is never OK. Let's read the report, educate ourselves, and act on informed recommendations instead of fear.