Sexual Assualts on College Campuses

As heard on NPR’s Morning Edition: 1:5 college women report being the victim of a sexual assault. 1:5! Despite the efforts to curb these assaults over the last decade, it appears we are not making much progress.

Why? Simple answers include: victim shame, the haze of alcohol (it tends to reduce clarity about whether sex was consensual or not), the desire of the male to deny and cover up, and (very sadly) the fear in some leaders who worry too much about false accusations. Yes, people do lie. However, the ones who bear that cost are usually victims. We’d prefer that if we are to make a mistake, that the victim should be the one to pay for that mistake.

I didn’t have the privilege of having a sister or a daughter. But I do have female colleagues who I greatly respect and love. How is it that we, as a culture, have such low regard for women that we accept this problem.

Think you don’t accept this problem? What are you doing about the massive proliferation of women as objects for gratification? I drive by a bus stop ad that has women in various states of undress. What am I going to do about it?

I’m not sure, but I have to do something!


Filed under Abuse, education, news

4 responses to “Sexual Assualts on College Campuses

  1. Amy

    Are these reported sexual assaults? If not, I’m sure the numbers are in actually much higher (as I’m sure you know.)

    I went to Cedar Crest College–an all-women’s college. You would think an institution that focused so heavily on women and women’s issues, we would be very vocal about rape. And we were–rape, physical abuse, and all that.

    But I remember a girl who said she was raped. The girl was a loose cannon to be sure, still I’m pretty sure she was telling the truth on this one. I didn’t know her well, but after the alleged rape (which was reported in the local paper), the other girls on campus scorned her, like she was making it up.

    Similarly, a girl I knew was a bit of a drinker and often went to parties at Lehigh University. She told me that someone spiked her drink and she was raped. She tearfully confessed this to me, and I’m sure it wasn’t reported. She told another friend or two who said she was “asking for it.”

    Still, we had safety seminars, supported RAINN, and all that good stuff. It just seemed that actually showing compassion to women who told their stories was a big problem.

  2. Amy, excellent addition to my post here. Maybe what you uncover is the human tendency to scorn a weak person, a person who represents vulnerability and victimhood. Now, I don’t think people tend to scorn those victimized by an earthquake, but we do tend to scorn those who show ANY signs of their own foolishness (“She’s loose, she drinks, she dresses provocatively”) as if that is the reason they have been assaulted.

    The 1:5 stat is from a confidential survey. I suspect that the number is still lower than reality because many fail to name their assault as an assault since they blame themselves.

    • Amy

      @ Phil Now that I think about it, I did have a another friend who was raped after getting sloshed at a frat party in high school. (Yes, I did just say a high schooler was at a frat party.) She was not scorned for her story because she became an advocate for women; therefore showing strength in her weakness.

      I hate when people say, “She was asking for it.” What?! Really?! And then there are women, like the girl that accused the Duke athletes of sexual misconduct, who make people doubt true testimonies.

  3. Marie

    This is a huge problem.

    I’m part of that statistic.

    I think women should be taught how to defend themselves against attack. Oh, I remember the “self defense” course I took in junior college — don’t go out late at night, don’t drink too much, etc.

    Once again, it places the blame on the victim and makes her wonder what she did wrong when she’s attacked. At three o’clock in the afternoon at a study group with no alcohol involved.

    I took a self defense class two years ago that changed my life. Full impact.

    If I had taken this class twenty years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be a part of that statistic.

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