Colleges Grappling with Sexual Assault Problem

From coast to coast and border to border, sexual assaults are a problem at our colleges and universities. They happen far too often and the perpetrators escape punishment more frequently than should be allowed, and there's a "blame the victim" mentality that pervades the crime. Just how prevalent are sexual assaults, where do they take place, and what's being done about it?

The Stats

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), almost one in five women have reported experiencing either attempted or completed sexual assault from when they first entered college (19 percent). That number goes up to 37.4 percent when talking about the percentage of women who have been raped between the ages of 18 to 24.

But the biggest number is 95, as in the percentage of sexual assault attacks that go unreported; the percentage of college women who've experienced rape is and haven't told anyone about it is 42.

When talking about the American population as a whole instead of narrowing down the scope to college-aged women, 22 million have been raped. With the country's population at 317 million and roughly half of them women, that amounts to 13.9 percent of all women in this country (not including those currently haven't had a sexual experience, whether forced or consensual).

Another startling statistic is exposed when looking at who commits sexual assaults, as they tend not to be isolated incidents. About 7 percent of college men admitted to rape, but of that percentage, almost two-thirds are repeat offenders. And they're not content to commit sexual assaults once or twice, either, but an average of six each.

The Obstacles Protesters Face

There are very few people who genuinely believe sexual assault is a good idea; of those who are against it, the party is divided into a segment who are content to verbally voice their disagreement and a portion who actively try to stop it.

One of the latter is No Red Tape, a group of "students fighting sexual violence and rape culture at Columbia University", according to their Twitter account. On April 6, 2014, they showed up at a campus event aimed at welcoming prospective students…only to be turned away and told they weren't welcome.

In the article in the Huffington Post (see above hyperlink), No Red Tape member Camen Velasquez said, "Elevator opens, we put on our red tape and literally as we turn the corner, three or four guards and administrators immediately declare 'This is a private event', while two other guys promptly run to shut all the entrances".

Although No Red Tape did manage to enter the event, it speaks to a larger problem: the lack of will of those in higher power to forcefully put a stop to sexual assault. When almost one in six women in the entire country has been sexually assaulted more than once, that's something huge that needs to be dealt with.

If that statistic (22 million women) was in reference to cancer or murders, would the public consciousness respond differently?

Author: Mollie
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