Tuesday, January 5, 2016

GateHouse: Battling campus sexual assault

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
January 4, 2016
“If we treated rape the way we treated plagiarism on college campuses, there would be minimal rape,” Eric, actual identity not revealed, told The Huffington Post.
Although actual figures are hard to come by--90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. It is estimated that one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
In 2014, President Obama appointed the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assaults. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) points out that research suggests 90 percent of rapes at colleges are perpetrated by 3 percent of college men. That small group of perpetrators can victimize both men and women.
As with male sexual violence against women, sexual violence against men is motivated by the desire to dominate and use sex as a weapon against the victim. The majority of the perpetrators of sexual violence against men are white, heterosexual men, reported the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV).
Male victims experience similar effects of sexual violence as female victims such as shame, grief, anger and fear. According to the NAESV, reporting and talking about their victimization, challenges for all victims of sexual violence, may be especially difficult for male victims because of gender socialization issues.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of 5,000 college students at over 130 colleges, one in 25 men answered “yes” to the question “In your lifetime have you been forced to submit to sexual intercourse against your will?”
Sexual assault victims are predominately women. However, it cannot be overlooked that on college campuses men are also at risk--and the consequences are equally devastating.
One study shows rape victims are 13 times more likely than non-crime victims to have attempted suicide. Jennifer Marsh, of RAINN, told The Huffington Post, “Both men and women who survive sexual assault face similar psychological effects--but there are some differences . . . male survivors who are suicidal tend to use more lethal means.”
The Campus SaVE Act was passed as part of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and fully went into effect this year.
The act requires all schools to offer prevention and awareness programs, publish specific data about dating and sexual-violence claims, and adopt some minimum standards for campus judicial proceedings.
However, Congress was not done. The most recent effort of lawmakers has not gone over very well. This past summer, Congress introduced the Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act. The proposed legislation would address campus sexual assault, while providing accused students meaningful due process protections.
The Fair Campus Act differs from the Safe Campus Act in one way. Under the Safe Campus Act campuses are precluded from conducting disciplinary hearings regarding allegations of sexual assault unless the complainants report the allegation to law enforcement first. The Fair Campus Act does not include that provision.
Recently, the National Panhellenic Conference and the North-American Interfraternity Conference, groups representing campus fraternities and sororities, withdrew support from the Safe Campus Act because of the provision that required victims to first report the incident to law enforcement.
“If there was a mandatory requirement to report to law enforcement, few survivors would report. And fewer would get the support they need on campus,” Katie Hanna, a board member with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence told The Atlantic.
Regardless of the gender of the victim the goal should be to enhance the opportunity for justice, not legislatively chill the opportunity for victims to be heard.

Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
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1 comment:

Tyla Belton said...

The actions done by the Obama Administration have helped men and women. They have helped make colleges more aware that sexual assault unfortunately, occurs more than we know. Recently, the Trump administration have taken the step to rescind the Obama policy and replace it with one that they say creates more of a "fair system".Trump and DeVos fear that due process is being overlooked when dealing with these cases. Due Process is a respect of all legal rights to a single individual. These two believe the Obama policy has created a system that makes it unfair for the accused. The Trump Administration has said that they are now going to give colleges and universities more freedom on how they choose to deal with this misconduct oppose to having a strict set of laws. Requiring that ALL schools implement a sexual assault prevention class, or a sexual assault awareness class, in my opinion would make students feel a sense of relief knowing their school is looking out for them.

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