Rape. It is a dirty word and an even dirtier act. It is an act that can happen anywhere, especially college campuses, where nearly 25% of women are sexually assaulted and a rape occurs every 21 hours. So why is it that conservatives like George Will are trying to blame the victim?
Will, a conservative columnist, believes “the campus sexual assault crisis is overblown, based on misleading statistics about the drunken hookups of “especially privileged young adults.” He’s particularly concerned that the federal government’s recent attention to the issue will put more young men at risk of being charged with rape.”
As if being sexually assaulted is not enough, now the victims have to deal with criticism from the right-wing media.The worst thing about rape on college campuses is that in many cases the victims are treated harshly, often times being told they are asking for rape by the way they dress or because they have consumed alcohol, and their attackers are going unpunished due their reports not being taken seriously or swept under the rug. Much of this is due to the flaws in the processes for reporting sexual assaults.
Recently, sexual assault on college campuses has started receiving the national political attention it deserves. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have created a task force whose purpose is to address this issue. In April, Not Alone, the first report from this task force, was released. Additionally, the issue is being recognized by the investigation of Title IX violations at 55 U.S. colleges and a senate bill that is being authored by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the same author of the bill that addressed changes of the military’s sexual assault policies, and Senator Karen Gillibrand (D-NY).
In an article by Kayla Epstein of The Guardian, five college students recount the experiences with sexual assault and explain the problems there are within the process of reporting the crimes. Most of these women were harassed and assaulted, but felt that they could not report it because of threats or fear that they would not be taken seriously. In some cases, the reports were just shrugged off.
University police and administration needs to take all students seriously when rape is alleged. If assault cases are followed up on and investigated as they should be, it may be likely that fewer assaults may take place.
It is despicable for any person to think that a fellow human is asking to be raped based on what they are wearing or that they have consumed any amount of alcohol. It is also disheartening to know that while the government may be trying to learn about and help the situation, more still needs to be done to create a better system for sexual assault to be reported and investigated.
With idiots like George Will out there preaching to the masses, it is a wonder that any sexual assault charges from college campuses are dealt with in the proper manner.
Meg is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.