Friday Spotlight–Violence Against Women on College Campuses

This is a tremendously depressing, disturbing report from the Center for Public Integrity on the horrific handling of sexual assault cases on college campuses across the country. I found it back in February but decided to save it for a WHM post. Just because.

From the report:

According to a report funded by the Department of Justice, roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates. But official data from the schools themselves don’t begin to reflect the scope of the problem. And student victims face a depressing litany of barriers that often either assure their silence or leave them feeling victimized a second time, according to a 12-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

The probe reveals that students found “responsible” for alleged sexual assaults on campuses often face little or no punishment, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. Many times, victims drop out of school, while students found culpable go on to graduate. Administrators believe the sanctions administered by the college judicial system are a thoughtful and effective way to hold abusive students accountable, but the Center’s investigation has discovered that “responsible” findings rarely lead to tough punishment like expulsion — even in cases involving alleged repeat offenders.

One takeaway point, I guess, is to remember that there are lots of reasons that a student might end up with us from a four year school–grades and money, being two of the least traumatic of possibilities. Another is that we have an obligation, I think, to educate our students about the realities and definitions of sexual assault, harassment, and other sorts of common, destructive, misunderstood behaviors.