VIEWPOINTS: One in five American women were sexually assaulted while in college. How can people of conscience help?

Photo of red cup spilling beer by Sarah_Jones via Flickr

Photo of red cup spilling beer by Sarah_Jones via Flickr

The statistics on the rape of collegiate women are stark. On Wednesday (Jan. 22), the White House Council on Women and Girls released a report that said the most likely women to be raped in America are college students.

One in five college students report being raped while at their universities, the report states. One in five.

Only 12 percent of these young women report the rape.

Of the men who were part of the survey, 7 percent reported perpetrating rapes and 63 percent of that number said they had committed an average of six sexual assaults each.

Many of the rapes were linked to alcohol or drugs.

“The dynamics of college life appear to fuel the problem,” the report states, “as many survivors are victims of what’s called ‘incapacitated assault’: they are sexually abused while drunk, under the influence of drugs, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated.”

President Barack Obama is giving a task force 90 days to formulate a plan to fight rape on college campuses. In April 2012, he said: “We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors.”

 How can people of conscience and faith communities address this issue?


3 Responses to “VIEWPOINTS: One in five American women were sexually assaulted while in college. How can people of conscience help?”

  1. JoAnne Silvia

    JoAnne Silvia

    We can teach our sons and grandsons and nephews to be respectful of women and girls, that no means no, and when someone is intoxicated, that you don’t take slurred speech or a confused look, or no answer at all, as consent. Consent is yes. Period.
    We can teach our daughters and grand daughters and nieces to be careful, to watch their drinks, to not be alone with someone you don’t know well, to seek friends who are respectful. Yet, we must do this in a non-judging way. We must be careful not to blame the victim. And let them know we are available if they need help.
    We can confront advertisers who promote messages of women as objects to be used..
    This issue of sexual assault would be a great topic for faith based teen youth groups or college campus groups.
    Churches and Universities can seek student input about ways to increase awareness and educate students about boundaries and resources, asking what type of media and perhaps what alternatives to high risk activities would be helpful.
    Hopefully the task force will recommend steps that can be taken, and hopefully there will be financial resources available to implement the actions that need to be taken.

  2. Melody L. Gordon

    Melody L. Gordon

    No should be no and should especially be no when you are incapacitated. It is both the parents at home in partnership with the synagogues and churches to endeavor to teach modern societal rules. To change the morays and attitudes that are a throwback to the fifties and sixties that say if females drink or take drugs that they are fair game is going to be a long process but it must start at home first and the first step is what Aretha Franklin sung about and that is RESPECT!

  3. Bonny Logsdon Burns

    Learning about respect and compassion starts at home, long before our sons and daughters reach college campuses. Both sexes should be instilled with respect and compassion of fellow man.

    How do we instill compassion? Not only should parents mentor through their own words and actions, parents should closely monitor the type of media their child is exposed to. Violent video games, sexually explicit/objectifying stories are the antithesis of compassion and can slip in under the radar. Parents need to be ever vigilant.

    Where would I put a laser focus in regards to college campus sexual assault and rape? Alcohol. Incapacitating drugs are a problem, too. But, I believe alcohol is a key player in these assaults.

    Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases sexual libido temporarily. Even a discerning young man or woman can have their guard and wits temporarily stymied because of two drinks, one for a small young woman.


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