College campuses encourage victim-blaming of sexual assault victims

By Carly Harsha | Opinion Editor

According to a carefully observed study conducted by the Department of Justice in 2007, about one in 10 undergraduate women had been raped while attending college. Why is it, then, that less than five percent of these women reported the crime to the police? Why are college campuses continuing to defend rapists?

We have built a society that shames women to such an extreme that, in most cases, women who are involved in a sexual crime end up blaming themselves or feeling too embarrassed to report the incident. Even when they do report it, they have to worry about not being believed, not being granted confidentiality, and even being attacked for their accusation.

Among all of these variables, and the deplorably low arrest rates for rapists, it has become obvious why women are terrified to come forth.

It is shameful that women today are still being harassed for reporting sexual crimes committed against them that are 100 percent preventable and 100 percent not their fault.

Too many stories have come out of American colleges regarding the horrendous neglect that these universities have given their female students.

In 2011, the federal government ordered that American colleges increase their efforts to prosecute sexual assault claims, because they believed that the campuses could do a better job than the criminal justice system. But it has become blatantly obvious that they are not suited to this monumental task. These administrative positions are usually held by professors and professionals who have little to no knowledge on how to correctly conduct and assess these accusations.

It is indisputable. Cases regarding campus assaults could be dealt with by the local police. The idea that campus security has the knowledge to deal with rape cases is suspect. Rape is a serious offense, and should not be treated as anything less.

Society is confused abotu how to approach cases that deal with rape. It’s understandable. Where is the line drawn when alcohol is involved? Was she dressed provocatively? Did the rapist have a mental disorder that caused this to happen? Was she “asking” for it?

To anyone who is confused, rape is never the victim’s fault. Society is advanced enough today to stop victim-blaming and making excuses for male offenders. It does not matter if he is the quarterback. It does not matter if he will lose his scholarship. If he has committed a crime that will permanently affect a girl’s life, he should face legal implications.

Colleges need to stop perpetuating the idea that women are anything less than men. Do the universities actually think that by covering these sexual assault cases their campuses will retain their reputation? It sends the message to women all over the country that they are still second-class citizens.

In 2009, a nine-month investigation was conducted by the Center for Public Integrity that found “Institutional barriers compound the problem of silence, and few victims in fact make it to a campus hearing. Those who do come forward can encounter secret disciplinary proceedings, closed-mouth school administrations, and off-the-record negotiations.”

Now is the time to stop perpetuating this long-standing stigma.

It is never, ever the victim’s fault. The offenders are the only ones who should face implications.

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Categories: Opinion

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