Women on college campuses are all too familiar with the fact that rape is a problem on college campuses. One in four women, according to a 2010 Department of Justice Report, will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate. Colleges with more than 6,000 students average one rape per day during the school year. The majority of reported victims and offenders are teens, with rape victimization highest among the 16-19 year olds.
Most recently, here in Los Angeles, complaints were filed against Occidental College with the Federal Department of Education alleging violations of Title IX and the Clery Act. The Clery Act was amended on March 7, 2013 when President Obama signed a bill that strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act which includes the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE) and affords rights to campus victims of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
Schools have been known to handle reports of allegations of sexual assault with campus judicial proceedings that are often confusing, shrouded in secrecy, and marked by long delays. The victim faces all kinds of institutional barriers that frequently make her feel even more victimized or insures that she not speak out. When a student is found guilty of a campus sexual assault, they frequently go unpunished.
In order for this to change, and it has begun to change, students must continue to speak out so that colleges follow appropriate procedures and provide support and training for personnel. To stop this culture of rape, everyone has to open their eyes, stop pretending sexual assault doesn’t exist, refuse to keep silent, and understand the meaning of affirmative consent.