Sexual Assault on College Campuses

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Sexual harassment encompasses a broad variety of unwelcome and coerced sexual acts. It includes rape attempts, non-consensual physical touches, and rape. It is literally inappropriately touching or penetrating one’s body against their will. Sexual harassment in universities is a common and long-standing issue. Sexual abuse is horrifying, and those who commit such crimes should be kept accountable. Under various federal bylaws, colleges are required to develop rules and standards to prevent any instances of these violations and to include investigation and arbitration should they occur. While knowing that sexual abuse shall not be eliminated till mindsets that led to it changes, this paper shall seek to argue why the sexual assault on campus is prevalent and how colleges put forth hindrances.

When Congress enacted the gender equity bylaw called Title IX more than four decades ago, nobody thought it would make campus accountable for dealing with sexual violence. Title IX was passed into law in 1972 with no controversy; it was just aimed at making women to gain equity in education. However, the law is translated to necessitate the campuses to investigate and solve student’s reports on sexual assault, deciding if their classmates are accountable for the violence and what the castigation should be. That is the victim chooses to report the incidents to authorities (Lombardi, Kristin and Jennifer 9). If colleges do not deal with such reports instantly and in a fair manner, they might carry the blame for infringing the rights of the victims and establishing a harsh learning environment.

Campuses are struggling with the responsibility as they are pressured by the activists together with the White House. Numerous survivors of sexual abuse are pressuring the colleges to improve their response towards this issue. The government as well is pressuring the colleges to deal with the issue of sex assault by releasing strict new guidelines to aid the colleges in combating with assault along with the tips for the understudies on how ways of filling complaints against the campuses who do not take sexual assault seriously. Broadening the reach of the gender-equity bylaw took place steadily, mostly through standards established by court cases, beginning in the early 1980s (Lombardi, Kristin and Jennifer 11). There are some students did sue school institutions because they mishandled complaints of harassment violence, rulings found sexual violence as a type of discrimination with assault being the extreme form. Henceforth, rape victims can be regarded as objects of favoritism under Title IX.

One of the key concerns in the colleges as stated by the students is that they often minimize the cases. Title IX permitted the students to report cases of sexual violence, but the college never stepped its game, there was botched investigations which led to lack protection for the young women. It was only until 2011 when the campus administration began to take their responsibilities seriously (Banyard, MarY and Maria 447). On top of their obligation to impose discipline, universities are required to respond to reports of sexual violence since nobody else will. The criminal justice system takes so long and at times fails to follow up cases.

Being that in students normally abuse alcohol then it becomes difficult for the prosecutors to discern if it was consensual or not (Danis 31). Students who reported incidents often state that criminal system is scary and exhaustive. Many opt to seek justice in their colleges, and some administrators have been lobbying the school managers to expel the perpetrators of sexual violence. Colleges offer a good alternative to the stressful justice system, with a less burden of truth and have something done safeguard women against men. Lawyers who represent universities have many worries of if and how these universities could meet the growing list of the state regulations for tackling the sexual abuse in colleges. There are new and ever changing bylaws and rules.

There are many factors that hinder the students from reporting sexually assault, and it is mostly because college administrations make it hard for them. This is why sexual assault is prevalent in colleges, and the college administration has created many obstacles. First is that sexual assault is covered in secrecy. The victims remain quiet while the administrators, on the other hand, are very secretive. The variety of practices in universities and colleges continue to be hidden in the college judicial system. Indeed in a nine-month exploration by the Center for Public Integrity, it found that secrecy still encompasses many cases that have been brought forth on sexual assault on colleges (Danis 36). Many students report that in every five girls attending colleges, one shall be raped or attempted to be raped at some point in their college life.

Numerous understudies who undergo sexual assault do not report- almost over ninety-five percent as shown by the studY done by the U.S. Justice Department. The ones who reported face mystifying disciplinary procedures guarded administrators along with off record concessions. Sometimes, guidelines result in a drop of complaints. Numerous campus administrators think that the present process offers an impartial and efficient manner of dealing with very sensitive allegations however the alleged victim’s state hat these procedures often make them feel like victims again (Gross et al. 290). There are some students who say that they opted to seek college intervention because they sought criminal justice without success. Even though this was a better way, however, these proceedings led to academic penalties or no reprimand for the perpetrators thus they feel betrayed since the process and no intelligibility or answerability.

At times students are even commanded to stay quiet about the disciplinary proceedings and receive threats of punishments if they do not. Additionally, other understudies say that administrators discourage them from following up rape grievances. A survey carried out showed that this is the same case in closed door college proceedings. Undeniably, different bylaw, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FERPA, has complicated the matter further. It prohibits schools from revealing students’ education records along with the disciplinary ones (Krebs et al. 4). Administrators think that it forces them to keep quiet on the case information; however, others are not sure. In FERPA, colleges may reveal the names of those found liable for carrying out brutal acts. However, colleges never comply with such.

Many victim lawyers state that colleges employ this law to cover up crimes in campuses. Naturally, administrators perceive college sexual crimes as a negative publicity to the school, therefore, ruining its reputation and increasing fears among the tuition-paying guardians and understudies who the colleges are competing for (Banyard, MarY and Maria 449). The administrators often bristle at the concept that they are covering rape allegations, however, they acknowledge that they battle with secrecy in campus rape proceedings due to FERPA and the Clery Act. Uncertainty over the bylaw has supported what the critics view as a culture of quietness that put doubts on the reliability of the proceedings.

Another thing is the commonality of the casual proceedings. In a majority of the cases of college rape grievances, it all comes down to he-said-she said accounts of sex activities that simply took place. There is no autonomous confirmation such as physical evidence or witnesses. In some situations, alcohol and drugs take a key role, and the students do not remember the details (Krebs et al. 6). Additionally, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, rape can take place, without the perpetrators knowing what they are doing is wrong. Therefore this is what makes these proceedings a challenge as the college administrators say.

There is also the issue of the absence of accountability. Administrators state that education departments characterize the side-effect of a confused legal atmosphere. They state that the schools have already altered its confidentiality guideline, however in most instances, it is not the case. The administrators state that the modern proceedings allow the students to expose the details of the proceedings including the results and the names of the accused as well as any sanctions. The school has taken steps to enhance the process by supporting investigations of rape grievances, better training for the assault committee (McMahon 365). This may be welcomed changes, however, processes at many school institutions still requires a secret process- in official hearings and causal mediations. For example, some of the universities still warn the students to stop disclosing the details of the proceedings.

In the present day proceedings, the rules still stipulate that the students may not divulge the details of the proceedings. It even accompanies warning that states that students should consult with their lawyer before divulging the details. Many critics believe that the silencing of the previous secrecy guidelines still holds. The dean of students, as well as administrators, argue that confidentiality ensures that there is the authenticity in the process. Administrators believe that a confidential process encourages the reluctant victims to come out (Lombardi, Kristin and Jennifer 9). The others think of this secrecy as vital in ensuring the rights of the accused. Additionally, there is also an argument that outsiders should not know rape proceedings and allegations happening in campuses since it is the school that decides if one’s conduct infringed institutional regulations and not the federal bylaws. Many critics and lawyers however, believe that the institutional dependence on privacy purposes to safeguard the image of the institution rather than the secrecy of students

Another issue is mediation. Intercessions ended up being popular in disciplinary matters including sexual violence earlier on and are still common today — regardless of debate. In 2001, the Education Department esteemed interventions shameful mostly since they convey no reprimand. And keeping in mind that intercession is, for the most part, thought to be successful for settling relational clashes, the department — and numerous commentators — contend that it misses the mark in cases of sexual assault.The reason: a scaring component exists between casualties and their attackers because, like different serious attacks, rape is an aggravated act (Lombardi and Kristin Jones 7). In other instances, the department states in its directive records, alluding to rape cases, “intercession would not be proper indeed, even on a deliberate premise.” School authorities are depicting the off-the-record session as an alluring way to deal with the charged student as if that it was the best alternative ever. Discretion, they communicated, would permit for more transparent discourse.

A Disillusioning Reaction. For some undergraduates who claim they have been sexually assaulted every year, disillusionment may without a doubt be the standard. Understudies reporting rape routinely say they confront a large group of institutional hindrances in seeking after the on-campus solutions intended to keep schools and colleges sheltered. The outcome, say, specialists, is a far-reaching feeling that equity is not being served, and may not even be worth seeking after. Crisis therapists and specialist organizations who work with understudies portrayed impediments as their main concern (Lamade et al. 436). These therapists referred to institutional boundaries on college more regularly than any other element as a debilitation to understudies seeking after grievances of rape.

Legal advisors called attention to failures as unpretentious as an institution’s failing to give access to an expert casualty’s advocate to guide understudies through an intricate and daunting

process. Understudies mentioned fears that their companions would get in a trouble for drinking or drug use, or that their names would not be kept secret (Chmielewski 7). Many alleged victims said that they had experienced barriers from their schools. Of those students who said they had met discouragement, majority moved or, pull out from their schools, while their charged aggressors were regularly scot-free.

Probably the most major hurdles to understudies who pursue sexual violence grievances are likewise unlawful, say legal advisors. Schools and colleges might be breaching government laws like Title IX, which bans sex segregation in schools, and the Clery Act, which is proposed to report campus crime.

These bylaws require that institutions research and make a move to end rape, additionally, mandate approaches for dealing with grievances on colleges (Garcia et al 65). Together with the individual and social hindrances to reporting — a few of them unique to school — these institutional obstacles aid to clarify the silence that frequently encompasses sexual violence on colleges. Students report rape even less regularly than the overall population does, a 2000 Justice Department-funded Report discovered. That report found that more than 95 percent of understudies who are sexually attacked stay quiet(Garcia et al 63).In any case, for assault survivors who think that their school stood in the path of following up a rape grievance, the experience of dealing with college could be daunting.

Sentiments of Self-Uncertainty. Before a female student who has been sexually attacked even gets to a dean’s office, she regularly needs to get past herself — her own self-fault, or her own memory slips, specialists say. Not as much as half of school ladies who are assaulted recognize it as sex assault, indeed, even secretly, to seen from the sample from Justice Department documents. In many interviews conducted, numerous assumed casualties depicted extraordinary doubts about what had transpired. It clashed with what they thought they thought about vicious sex assault — a cliché picture of an outsider in the shrubberies with a blade. The charged aggressors were, at times, individuals they considered companions (Lamade et al. 445). They described attempting to push it off their minds, simply needing to move on with their lives. Or, on the other hand, they faulted themselves for drinking excessively, or for neglecting to protect themselves.

An Absence of Support. Universities seldom invest much energy instructing understudies on the best way to respond properly to a companion who has been sexually victimized. It found that just about 60 percent of schools gave no response training to any understudies. When they trained, they frequently targeted understudies who were residential consultants or security officers instead of the general student populace (Chmielewski 8). The students who have reported rape never get any help from the school or other response awareness. Far from their guardians from the first time, female students have a tendency to depend on the structure of close-knit residential halls, sports groups, or a sorority; their companions’ reaction is critical. To confound matters, say on-college advocates, accused and complainant might be isolated by only a couple of degrees.

Conclusion

Sexual violence campuses shall continue to be on the rise unless transformation is done immediately. School administrators ought the take the issue of rape seriously as it is an aggravated crime.

Policies should be put in place to help the victim including enhanced response awareness support and counseling. Hindrances mentioned above ought to be eliminated, and the reporting process should be very smooth and less daunting. Male assailants often continue to commit sexual crimes, because they know that the school cannot do much about it even when they are reported, after all, they will go scot free. Dismal response and lack of harsh punishments on the perpetrators of violence not only hurt the victims but also discourages the victim from reporting. Clear policies should be put in place to ensure the safety of female students and the government should also hold those schools slacking in the fight against sexual violence responsible and impose huge fines on them. As stated previously, it is the college administrations and its policies that elicit the prevalence of sexual violence, should they step up their game and eliminate obstacles, campus sex assault would be eliminated.

Works Cited

Banyard, Victoria L., Mary M. Moynihan, and Maria T. Crossman. “Reducing sexual violence on campus: The role of student leaders as empowered bystanders.” Journal of College Student Development 50.4 (2009): 446-457.

Chmielewski, Amy. “Defending the Preponderance of the Evidence Standard in College Adjudications of Sexual Assault.” BYU Educ. & LJ (2013): 143.

Danis, Fran S. “In search of safe campus communities: A campus response to violence against women.” Journal of Community Practice 14.3 (2006): 29-46.

Garcia, Carolyn M., et al. “Preventing sexual violence instead of just responding to it: Students’ perceptions of sexual violence resources on campus.” Journal of forensic nursing 8.2 (2012): 61-71.

Gross, Alan M., et al. “An examination of sexual violence against college women.” Violence against women 12.3 (2006): 288-300.

Krebs, Christopher P., et al. “The campus sexual assault (CSA) study: Final report.” Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice (2007).

Lamade, Raina V., et al. “Campus Sexual Assault.” Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation: A Multidisciplinary Approach. CRC Press, 2016. 433-448.

Lombardi, Kristen, and Kristin Jones. “Sexual assault on campus: A frustrating search for justice.” (1945).

Lombardi, Kristen, Kristin Jones, and Jennifer Peebles. “Sexual assault on campus shrouded in secrecy.” The Center for Public Integrity (2009).

McMahon, Patricia Pasky. “Sexual violence on the college campus: A template for compliance with federal policy.” Journal of American College Health 57.3 (2008): 361-366.

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