Colleges struggling to deal with rape epidemic
by emily ram, student life editor
Our Highlighter journalists pose to raise awareness to the horrific number of sexual assaults plaguing college campuses
Photo by: Ariana Alvarado, Digital Media Editor
Photo by: Ariana Alvarado, Digital Media Editor
Hillcrest ladies -- look around your classroom at the other girls in your class. How many girls are in your class right now? 10? 15? 20?
Want to hear a sad truth? Turns out that for every 5 girls you see around you, one of them will be sexually assaulted on a college campus in the future.
This frightening fate comes from a recent Washington Post article that cites a Association of American Universities survey that 20% of 150,000 undergraduate girls at college were sexually assaulted or endured sexual misconduct. The survey included 27 schools including many Ivy League schools.
Universities are struggling with helping students who have endured sexual assaults. This epidemic of rape has been going on in universities and is bringing damaging reputations to schools who are struggling to handle this crisis.
College campuses are all around America are bringing in kids from all around the world into their academic buildings to sustain future goals and make a living for themselves. Live-in universities have students who literally live inside the campus to learn how to live independently. On campus, students meet other students from all around the world and gradually interact with each other due to the fact they see each other for more than a couple of minutes. These interactions have turned from friendly, to close friendships, to possible rape. According to the website clevelandrapecrisis.com, college women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of their freshman and sophomore years.
In colleges all around America, rape incidents happen but are now known to have never been fully reported. The two types of rapes that have been happening are "forcible rape" or through the use of substances to render the victim incapable of resisting named "incapacitated rape" (thinkprocess.org). The mirrored question is if colleges are "sweeping rape under the rug" and if they are truly taking the incident a seriously as they should.
Out of the many universities that have been reported for rape incidents, one university who has made national headlines lately has been Baylor University located in Texas. It was investigated that home players on the football team have committed rape to freshman girls in college and got away with the crime. The player was founded guilty in court, but the university called him innocent and "was ready to send him back onto the field until a criminal court found him guilty." (deadspin.com) Clearly, the university pushed this incident aside and left it until higher sources were to get involved. To add onto the growing epidemic of college rape, Paula Lavigne, ESPN'S reporter from Outside the Lines reported "five women tried to report rapes by a football player and Baylor failed to investigate the crime". The university responded with "trust us", and not go more in depth with the crime itself. Referring to this, Baylor University did not do anything unless they were told to. Sometimes, even when they were told to report, they didn't do anything.
Another university that seem quite familiar with a lot of those who look into colleges, Stanford University. Stanford has shown signs of potentially violating the law to their responses of the rape going on on their campus. "This became really real to me after the town hall and seeing people crying and not being heard," said Stephanie Pham, a sophomore who co-founded the campus activist group One In Five. "They're not being heard, they're being silenced." (huffingtonpost.com) One report stats how a student was accused of physical and sexual assault and escaped punishment after he graduated, and still wasn't referred to law enforcement. Multiple women has also been sexually and physically assaulted at this university by the same man between 2010 and 2014, and this man was still never caught.
Making this point much sadder than it already is, only 2.7 percent of victims reported their sexual assaults . When others were asked why they never reported, the most popular answer was, "I was afraid" or "They wouldn't really do anything about it."
Many women are scared to come out with being sexually assaulted because it may not be handled properly or the crime won't actually go away. In a 2007 study, 21% of physically forced victims and 12% of incapacitated victims did not report because they didn’t think the police would take the crime seriously and 13% of forced victims and 24% of incapacitated victims feared the police would treat them poorly. (time.com) Going back to the colleges, victims also reported that the colleges discouraged them from saying anything. If anything, even if they did report it, "only 18% of reported rapes result in a conviction." (time.com)
So, are the colleges actually going to do anything about this spiraling epidemic going on? Colleges can do so many things such as: make an official policy statement, define a definition for sexual misconduct, have a protocol for managing reported cases, have systems for gathering and disseminating information bout sexual misconduct have comprehensive services for victims and have education programs. Did colleges enforce any of this though? According to the epidemic spiraling across the country, obviously not. Do they need to do something about it? Hell yeah.