Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Title IX and Campus Assault

After reading The History of Campus Sexual Assault, the College Rape Overcorrection Excerpts, and visiting the information page about title IX, as well as watching excerpts of The Hunting Ground, I realized that sexual assault on college campuses is an extremely complicated issue that society has been faced with for years, but it is now recently being brought to light. College campuses are essentially a “hunting ground” for sexual predators; there are hundreds of single people, endless amounts of alcohol, and a constant desire to go out and party. Many young women and men are highly vulnerable and susceptible to sexual assault and date rape, especially when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This was touched on in The History of Campus Sexual Assault, when the author wrote that “the three ‘primary drivers’ that enable a small minority of men to offend without consequences, are a culture of high alcohol consumption, peer pressure from other men to prove sexual prowess and men's own attitudes favoring impersonal sex.” In The Hunting Ground, Ms. Kobus showed us a section where they touched on sexual assault perpetrated through Greek Life. There was an example of a fraternity that coerced it's pledges to get as many naked pictures of women at the college so they could share them and put them on a basement wall. In addition, they touched on a frat called Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which many students nationwide refer to as “Sexual Assault Expected.” In the documentary, the girls were laughing when they explained the dorm’s nickname, which just showed how little the university actually cared about the truth of what went on inside the doors of the frat house. I have many friends in college, and many of those friends attend schools where Greek Life is a large part of the social scene. My friends have told me frightening stories of boys from frats telling girls to show up to events dressed provocatively, not letting girls in if they did not meet their standards, and much worse. Fraternities are basically organized events that revolve around testosterone, alcohol, and girls, and though not all frats are dangerous and predatory, many are and colleges are reluctant to do anything about it.
The part of the articles and movie that affected me the most was the university's reluctance to do anything about the impending issue of rape and sexual assault on their campuses. The History of Campus Sexual Assault informed me that “Even when crimes are reported, says Koss, ‘Schools seem to have about two responses to sexual assault: One is expulsion, and two is write a paper.’ And expelled students are, of course, free to enroll elsewhere.” Schools do not want to have to deal with the issue of sexual assault on their campuses because it tarnishes their name. It is often much easier to just sweep whatever happened under the rug, ask the perpetrator to write a paper about it, and have everyone move on with their lives. Yet, this way of dealing with it only lets the perpetrators believe their actions are okay, and it enables them to do it over and over (which we learned when we saw that 8% of the offenders commit up to around 80% of the crimes). The fact that colleges deal with these cases by asking the women what they were wearing, how much they had to drink, and what they would’ve done differently if they could go back and do it again is honestly appalling. It is appalling because in order to cover up the assault, the victims are blamed. This comes from such a place of misogyny and disrespect that it honestly scares me, knowing that next year I will be living on a campus and putting my trust into an administration that I hope will do everything they can to protect my safety and the safety of my peers. Although The Hunting Ground is a very heavy and harrowing documentary, I did find it very inspiring that the two women who were assaulted on UNC’s campus were able to argue that the way the faculty dealt with it was a violation of their rights according to Title IX, as it was taking away their right to an equal education, ultimately shedding light on the huge issue that campus sexual assault is.
The second article that we read before was interesting as well, although I did not think it was as relevant as the first one or the documentary. There are cases of women falsely accusing men of sexual assault, and that accusation can completely ruin a man’s time at college and essentially a large part of his life. False accusations of rape and sexual assault are no light matter, and the false accusers should be met with many consequences for doing so. But I do not think that colleges are overcorrecting the issue of sexual assault on their campuses. I think that colleges are reluctant to take action more often than not because it tarnishes the name of their school. I think that if a person comes forward to administration explaining an assault that has happened to them or their friend, it should be taken seriously. I believe that an investigation should take place and they should find witnesses and do everything they can to find out exactly what happened. If they are able to correctly execute the investigation, then there will be a lot less of an issue with overcorrection and perpetrators who are actual dangers to society will (hopefully) receive the punishments they deserve.
This issue is one that I really take to heart, considering that many of my friends are in college currently and most will be by next year. College is a time for growth, education, and fun, and that is all it should be about. I do not want to be scared for my friends safety (and my own safety) when going out to a social event or just in general at college. I do not want to hear another story of a friend’s friend that got too drunk and was taken advantage of, or of someone who blacked out and didn’t realize until the morning that they had sex. I also believe that the first step in creating a solution to this issue is with education and awareness. When people go out, especially girls, they have to be extra careful with who they are socializing with, how much they are drinking, and constantly be aware of their surroundings. Robyn mentioned that her brother’s lacrosse team had to go through a two week course on sexual assault and consent, and I believe that courses like that can certainly go a long way. Like we said in class, this issue is not something that will disappear overnight, but my hope is that through education and awareness, at least one person will be saved from a dangerous situation. To me, that is an enormous victory.

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