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Blackstone Academy Charter School

Sexual assault on college

Are colleges handling sexual assault on their
campuses appropriately?

Haley Sousa
Senior Paper
Tasche Bryant
February 1, 2017
You dont know me, but youve been inside of me. These are the powerful
words an anonymous victim has stated about a horrific incident that changed her life
forever. A little over a year ago at Stanford University some brave bystanders chased and
tackled a man after seeing him penetrating what appeared to be an unconscious woman

behind a dumpster outside a fraternity party. Later, it has come to the public's knowledge
that this mans name is Brock Turner. He has brutally sexually assaulted a young,
intoxicated woman. After appearing in court, Turner was sentenced to six months in jail.
This turned out to be three months as he was let out early for good behavior.
Unfortunately, cases like Turners arent uncommon. The only difference is Brock Turner
actually did some time in jail, most abusers dont receive any punishment whatsoever. If
it wasnt for those two young men who stepped in when they saw that something was not
right, there is a great possibility that victim would have been seriously injured, maybe
even killed.
Sexual assault on college campuses is a national epidemic. This type of abuse is
described as any sexual act that is unwanted by somebody else. These acts include, but
are not limited to, penetration with genitals and/or objects without consent, rape,
unwanted sexual acts, such as oral sex and touching of somebodys body without their
permission. This crime is all about power and control (Sexual Assault). It is important
to note a common misconception regarding rape and sexual assault. Rape is historically
defined as forced and unlawful sexual intercourse against the victim's will. It needs to be
stated that rape is a common type of sexual assault it is not the only kind (Sexual
Assault). Sexual assaults on college campuses is a reoccurring problem and it seems as if
colleges aren't doing much about it. These crimes happen on an day to day basis and it is
not getting the attention and awareness that it needs.
Several statistics prove that sexaul assault is often an underlooked issue by
colleges and universities. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 4 women will be assaulted

during their time in college. Three out of four of those women are either a freshman or
sophomore (Booth). According to Booth, freshmen are more likely to be victims of
sexual assault because they are the most vulnerable; they are new to the area and the
campus which makes them easy targets. An organization entitled RAINN, Rape Abuse
and Incest National Network, exercised a study comparing sexual assault to robberies.

Figure One
Figure one shows that out of all women, there are 5 robberies for every 4 sexual
assaults while for women in college there are 2 sexual assaults for every 1 robbery
(Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics). When put in this perspective, it is clear to see how
broad this problem actually is. Robberies are events that occur on a day to day basis, so
when it is compared to the number of sexual assaults, it is a real eye opener. In college,
women are getting assaulted more than the number of robberies that are happening during
that time period. Colleges and Universities have some rules and regulations put into
place, but is that enough?

After a sexual assault occurred, the burson is on the victim to do the almost
impossible and come forward about the attack. In fact, 95% of sexual assaults go
unreported because victims fear that they will be blamed (Booth). The common process
to report a sexual assault is extremely painful for the victim. Usually the time period is 68 months until the victims get the justice that they deserve, if they even get it (Edwards).
During these 6-8 months before trial, the perpetrator is roaming freely around the
campus. Edwards goes on to explain how the abuser could easily be in the victim's
classes and he/she will know that they are pressing charges which increases their danger
level. If the victim decides to push through the trial, the consequences for the abuser are
usually minimal. Some of these punishments include expulsion and writing an essay
(Kamenetz). If expulsion is the result, Kamenetz explains that the victimizer is free to
roam wherever they like, possibly committing the crime again and again. If the victim
decides not to go through with the trial, which most do not because of the difficultness of
the process, the case just gets pushed under the rug. Having a high number of sexual
assaults occurring on a campus hurts the college's reputation. Having none reported as
opposed to having a high number is actually quite scary because of the high frequency of
this crime occurring. Brown University has one of the highest recorded numbers of
sexually based assaults on their campus, but despite these figures, they arent looked
down upon by most activists.

Brown University

Brown University has the highest number of sexual assaults reported with 43.
(Anderson). When most people read this statistic, they see it as a negative concept. On
the other hand, having a high number being reported is not necessarily a poor ideology.
Having a higher number could in fact mean that the school is doing a favorable job of
helping their students come forward and talk about these terrible situations. So what
exactly is Brown doing to help these victims come forward?
Last year, a protest broke out at Brown University. Victims of sexual assault
wanted justice. They wanted to be heard. Brown took this into consideration and made
some serious changes. According to Jessica Katz, Brown Universitys Title IX
investigator, the first action Brown did was create a Title IX office. Katz continued by
saying how they educated students about who was a confidential person to speak with
about the traumatic experiences that they endured and who was not, she addressed how
they are transparent about their information. Along with confidentiality, Katz
explained how the Title IX office made it clear who victim's resources are and where they
could be found. Another topic that Katz spoke about was that the University builds trust
with their students, which is extremely important. Along with all of this, Katz gave a
play-by-play of what would happen if somebody walks into their office and claims to
have been sexually assaulted.
First, the victim would have to file a complaint through Title IX outlining the
policy which was violated. After a few days, the office sents the victim an email
confirming that the complaint was received. Now, it is time for the victim to choose an
advisor, which can be an attorney. After doing so, the Title IX investigator is contacted,

Jessica Katz, and she interviews the complainant who is the victim, and the respondent
who is the perpetrator, and witnesses, if any. Following the interviews, Katz determines
what is credible and writes up a report. Both parties have the option to comment and
change it and after they changes are made, the final report is written. Next, a panel is
chosen to hear the case. The panel is allowed to ask the victim and perpetrator questions,
but they are not in the room at the same time. The complainant and respondent both have
a statement and although they are not in the same room, each party has the right to hear
the other person's statement. After the statements are given, the panel determines if the
perpetrator is responsible. If they are found responsible some consequences that the
respondent could face include reprimanding, expulsion, suspension and probation with or
without mandatory treatment. During this process both parties have the right to appeal at
any time. Filing a complaint through Title IX isnt the only option students have to deal
with their sexual assault.
Jessica Katz explains that Brown offers multiple programs to survivors. On
campus, they have a group called SHARE, Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources and
Education, who strictly work with situations regarding sexual assault and sexual
harassment. This group helps victims recognize sexual assault and understand the trauma
that they went through. Students can also go to the Office of Student Conduct where they
can get a no contact order. There are also some student support accommodations that
include a change in classes/schedule, a personal escort and a move of dorm hall. Victims
can get counseling and physiological support there as well.

Though these programs has been put into place to help the victim, it can also harm
them. Think about it like this, Jessica Katz said that the process takes a minimum of 60
days. 60 days of the victim reliving those moments of when their lives were destroyed
and stripped away from them. 60 days of having to face the person who assaulted them.
Going through through this could be extremely detrimental to the victim. Brown
University has recognized that this is a problem and is finally putting their foot down to
conquer it.

College Comparison
Although Brown University is making efforts to tackle the issue of sexual assault
on college campuses, the same does not go for all schools across America. A bunch of
colleges have a Title IX Coordinator/Investigator stationed on campus. A Title IX
personnel is someone who investigates any alleged violations of Title IX at the school.
Instead of handling all disciplinary actions, Title IX Investigators strictly handle crimes
that fall under Title IX.
Clark University has one of these investigators: Adam Keyes. Like Jessica Katz,
Keyes deals with assault allegations falling under Title IX. In 2014, Clark University
reported one case of sexaul assault on their campus (Anderson). This is quite different from
Brown, who had 43 reports. Why is the number so low? Are they doing something differently?
The processes are significantly different. Adam explains, The first thing we always do is
we focus on resources. Similar to Brown, Clark makes sure the victim knows where all of the
resources are and what their options are. At Clark, the process isnt as rigorous as Brown. Adam

explained different routes the survivor could follow: outside the campus resources or internal
resources. The major difference between Browns Title IX Investigator and Clarks Title IX
investigator is their gender. This has a major impact on victims decisions to proceed with the
charge because as Adam says, ..women might not be comfortable talking to a male and we have
to recognize that. Obviously, because he is a male does not make him any less of an
investigator, but there is a bias towards talking to a male about a sexual assault experience.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts also had 0 sexual assault cases reported in 2014
(Anderson). Written in their Sexual Violence Policy handbook, MCLA lists what to do if you are
sexually assaulted. The standard of dont wash your clothes, dont shower and seek medical
attention right away. A few spaces below that small section, exists another list. This list is far
more long and bullet points ways to avoid being attacked and consists of...

Lock room and townhouse doors at all times.

Use the peephole in the door before opening the door.
Avoid poorly lighted streets, alleys, and pathways.
Avoid persons acting suspiciously. Head for bright lights and people.
Avoid walking/jogging alone. Stick to a planned route and run with a friend.
Avoid hitchhiking.
Be aware of surroundings.
The first defense is noise - scream! Scream "fire" not "help" to attract more

Avoid entering an elevator if there is someone suspicious already in the car.
Convey confidence through body language. Keep ones head up and be alert.
Refrain from marking keys or key chain with ones name, address or telephone
If offered a ride home from a party, become suspicious and do not accept the

Use alcohol responsibly.

Never leave a drink unattended.
In a dating situation, define exact parameters of the relationship.
Be assertive and maintain control.

Trust basic instincts. If it does not feel right, it probably is not. (Sexual Violence
Policy & Information).
Instead of having a list of ways to know when it is sexual assault, Massachusetts College
of Liberal Arts teaches young women how to avoid being attacked. The problem with this
method is that if one of these rules are broken, the victim may blame themselves for it and is
less likely to come forward about her attack. It is also possible that if the survivor does come
forward about it, the college could refer back to this list and tell the victim they warned them
about this happening. As a result of the conversation, survivors will blame themselves and this
may end up with the process not moving forward, which could be the reasoning behind having 0
sexual assaults reported in 2014.

Even though Brown has the highest number of sexual assaults reported with 43, a survey
called The Post Analysis which covers 1,300 schools, 500 schools reported 0 sexal assaults on
their campus (Anderson). As discussed earlier, 1 in 4 women on college campuses are victims of
sexual assault (Anderson), therefore the colleges must be doing something wrong when it comes
down to reporting the numbers. Maybe its because students arent educated on the topic of
sexual assault. Francine Perry from the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center as well as Jessica
Katz discussed some solutions to tackle the lack of action being drawn to sexual assault on
college campuses by the colleges.
One solution that Perry and Katz paralleled on is education. Specifically, education of
what consent means is vital. Most abusers do not even see it as a crime and openly admitted that
they used force to have sex with a woman and see nothing wrong with that (Kamenetz). Perry

explains that consent is a lot more than just black and white, its such a grey area She goes
on to explain, for instance, that just because a couple is married or they have performed a sexual
act before does not mean it is consensual. Perry explains how if their partner did not say yes,
then it is sexual assault. Educating students on how to be effective bystanders is just as important
as teaching students how to prevent sexual assault from happening.
Jessica Katz touched on the importance of bystander intervention. She discussed a
program that they have on campus called SAPE, Sexual Assault Peer Education. It is student run,
but the student educators are trained. This program brings in the bystander as she described,
and encompasses interactive presentations. It helps students identify rape culture and behaviors
that contribute to rape culture. They go through scenarios, such as a party, and what a student
should do if they see somebody is at high risk to get sexually assaulted. More colleges should
have programs that educate people how to be an effective person in a situation watching the
events unfold. Programs like these help students understand that instead of standing by and
being uncomfortable speaking up, they should be uncomfortable about NOT speaking up
(Booth). Educating students on the definition of consent and guiding them to be proactive in
intense situations is what colleges should to do tackle sexual assault on their campuses.

Victim Blaming
There is no denying that sexual assault on college campuses is a serious problem,
however, some argue that the victim has some fault in their attack as well. A article entitled, The
Realities of Sexual Assault on Campus, claims that women should know their alcohol limits to
make them less likely to be a victim. According to this source, intoxication can make you
significantly more vulnerable to assaults by impairing your judgment or inhibiting your physical


ability to fight off an attacker (BestCollegesCom). This is arguing that alcohol is the reason for
sexual assault, not rapists themselves.
Women should not have to know their limits in order to not get raped. Drunk or not, it
is not their fault. Instead of teaching the girls how to not get assaulted, colleges should be
tackling the problem of teaching guys how not to rape. Sexual assault is not just something that
is bound to happen. However, over time, it is viewed that way because colleges arent attempting
to put an end to it. Secondly, alcohol has nothing to do with the victim fighting back. Most of the
time, attackers take the victim off guard, which doesnt allow the victim time to think about
fighting back. Also, what if the perpetrator has a gun to her/his head? Taking alcohol out of the
equation, who is to say the victim will even fight back at all? Sexual Assault isnt inevitable and
colleges need to stop pretending like it is.
Another argument that some argue is that with female victims, the way she was dressed is
the reason behind why she was raped. According to those who believe in this argument claim that
if a girl is wearing a revealing clothing, then she is asking to be assaulted. These people claim
that women should watch what they wear in order to avoid sexual assault. Earlier this year, Teen
Vogue produced a project entitled Not Your Fault. Part of this project displays images of what
victims were wearing when they were assaulted. Here are just some.


Clearly, these photos arent provocative clothing at all. Figure 2 is simply a pair of sweatpants
and a sweatshirt. These figures show anything but revealing clothing. Therefore, the argument
that a woman's clothes determines whether or not she was asking to get raped is completely
debunked. In fact, nobody is ever asking to be sexually assaulted.
Sexual Assault on college campuses is a growing problem spreading across the nation.
Some colleges are stepping into action and attempted to halt this epidemic while other schools
are pretending like it doesnt exist. Instead of teaching people how not get raped we should be
teaching people how not to rape. In addition, we should also be teaching people that no matter
what, it is not the victim's fault, the victim is never asking for it. Sexual assault on college
campuses is a problem that will take a long time to solve but the ending must start now.



Works Cited
Anderson, Nick. "These Colleges Have the Most Reports of Rape."Washington Post. The
Washington Post, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
BestCollegesCom. Realities of Sexual Assault on Campus | Best
Colleges, Best Colleges, 11 Nov. 2016,
Booth, Barbara. "One of the Most Dangerous Places for Women in US."CNBC. CNBC,
22 Sept. 2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Buchwald, Emilie, Pamela R. Fletcher, and Martha Roth. Transforming a Rape Culture.
Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 1993. Print.
"Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN." Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics |
RAINN. RAINN, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Crocker, Lizzie. "Why the New One in Four Campus Rape Statistic Is Misleading." The
Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 21 Sept. 2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Edwards, Stassa. "Most Colleges Don't Have Rape Kits Available on Campus." Jezebel.
Jezebel, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Kamenetz, Anya. "The History of Campus Sexual Assault." NPR. NPR, 30 Nov. 2014.
Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Katz, Jessica. Brown Title IX Investigator . Oct. 2016.
Keyes, Adam. Clark's Title IX Deputy Coordinator . Nov. 2016.
Nehring, Abbie. "Campus Sexual Assault: What Are Colleges Doing Wrong?" Top
Stories RSS. Pro Publica, 29 July 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.


Papisova, Vera, and Ashley Armitage. This Is What I Was Wearing When I Was
Raped.Teen Vogue, Teen Vogue , 11 May 2016,
Perry, Francine. Sexual Assault on College Campuses. Sept. 2016.
"Sexual Assault | RAINN." Sexual Assault | RAINN. RAINN, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
"Sexual Violence Policy & Information." Sexual Violence Policy & Information.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.