A Starting Plan to Address Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Last month, I wrote an article about the Hidden Wounds of Sexual Assault (I described how the survivors of sexual assaults are often: afraid of the dark; jump when touched; get alarmed at loud or sudden noises; have difficulty being intimate with someone; have problems in relationships; were not believed by friends, boyfriends, family members or the authorities; ….as a result, trust people less).

There is a new documentary out titled The Hunting Ground – it covers a number of sexual assaults on college campuses, that some frats (SAE) are fortresses of rape, and how many universities have failed to protect their students and/or prosecute the attackers/predators.

I’ve posted information about the movie on our Facebook site. I use that site to also put out links to numerous articles that I find informative and topical, and over the last half year I’ve suggested that people read about the failures of how the military addresses sexual assaults, methods that sororities are trying to shield their members against rape, and the horrific story of two football player-rapists’ attack on a young woman at Vanderbilt.

In today’s New York Times, Professor Jenny Wilkinson of the University of Vermont wrote an account about how she was sexually assaulted when she was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Despite being found responsible by the University, her attacker received a minimal reprimand with no real consequences. It’s a story that I urge people to read. Dr. Wilkinson concluded her piece with some basic suggestions to improve the way sexual assaults are handled on campuses:

At a minimum, though, we need victim-friendly proceedings, including administrators who encourage students to file reports; trained legal representatives, investigators and panel members; and rules that allow students to bring in outside support. Victim-sensitive punishments, explicitly expulsion, would allow survivors to walk around campus without fear of running into their attackers. With these changes, university proceedings could actually make a difference by getting predators off campus and into the hands of family members and friends who can find them the help they need.