Obama pushes end to sexual assault epidemic on college campuses
On Jan. 22, President Barack Obama shared his initiative to help fight a sexual assault epidemic, with a focus on college campuses. According to the White House report, "A Renewed Call to Action to End Rape and Sexual Assault," one in five female students have been sexually assaulted while at college.
Obama believes that universities need better ways to combat rape and help sexually assaulted victims on college campuses. The White House Council on Women and Girls said, "No one is more at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted than women at our nation's colleges and universities."
President Obama taking a stand against rape on college campuses is an issue that has never been so heavily brought to light by the White House. Violence on college campuses or sexual assault is an issue that has been swept under the carpet by the universities.
The report also stated that one in eight college victims don’t report being sexually assaulted. When speaking to peers and friends about their college experiences, students are scared to report an occurrence of a sexual assault in the presence of alcohol. They are scared of any consequences the universities might hand out if they admit forbidden behaviors.
The report said that the drinking and drugs are often used at campus parties to ignite many of the sexual assaults.
Most universities have extremely strict policies on drinking. Because of this, some students feel they will be punished for drinking on top of their trauma.
To make victims feel more comfortable reporting sexual assault, universities need to be able to listen to victims without the victim fearing to admit to drinking or drug usage.
In a report by ABC News, “Obama is giving the task force of administration officials 90 days to come up with recommendations for colleges to prevent and respond to sexual assault, increase public awareness of each school's track record and enhance coordination among federal agencies to hold schools accountable if they don't confront the problem.”
With promiscuity, drinking and partying, it’s no surprise that college is the stomping grounds for sexual assault. There is no doubt that something needs to be done to protect students from being sexually assaulted at their college. Students should be able to feel safe and out of harm's way at college.
According to The Boston Globe, Obama said, “We need to encourage young people, men and women, to realize that sexual assault is simply unacceptable,’’ Obama said. ‘‘And they’re going to have to summon the bravery to stand up and say so, especially when the social pressure to keep quiet or to go along can be very intense.’’
In the next 90 days, many expect to see big changes in promoting the safety of college students across the nation. Universities and the Obama administration need to work closely together to figure out the best ways to encourage reporting sexual assaults and prevent such a crime.
Reach the columnist at Kassidy.McDonald@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @kassmcdonald