SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES 1
Sexual Assault onCollege Campuses
Sexual assault encompasses activities such as nonconsensual kissingand touching as well as rape, among others. In some instance, victimsare coerced into engaging in sexual acts by their tormentors throughverbal and nonverbal-verbal threats. The majority of cases of sexualvictimization involve the intoxication of the victims. This paperwill explore the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses andsuggest several strategies for dealing with the menace.
Sexual assault on college campuses is pervasive. 11.2% of allstudents in colleges have been sexually victimized (Rape,Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016). In terms ofgender, 2.2% and 8.8% of all males and female students respectivelyreport being victims of sexual assault (Rape,Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016). Accordingto the Rape,Abuse & Incest National Network (2016), more thanhalf of all sexual assault that occurs on campuses happen during thelast four months of the year. Besides, students are more likely tobe sexually assaulted in the first few months of their first semesterin colleges (Rape,Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016).
A large proportion of sexual assault cases go unreported. The Rape,Abuse & Incest National Network (2016) reports that 86%of campus law enforcement agencies have at least one personnelresponsible for organizing rape prevention programs. Besides, 72% ofall college police departments have at least one person mandated withthe responsibility of helping the victims of sexual assault(Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016).Despite the college law enforcement agencies being well equipped tohandle cases of sexual assault, including addressing the variousneeds of the victims, very few students notify the relevant authorityupon being sexually victimized. Only one out of five students who arevictims of sexual assault reports these incidents to law enforcementagencies(Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016).Victims cite different reasons for not reporting the matter. Suchreasons include personal matter (26%), fear of reprisal (20%), notimportant enough (12%), concern for the perpetrator (10%), and thebelieve that the police will not do anything (9%)(Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 2016).
Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributor of sexual assault incolleges. 90% of cases of sexual assault in campus colleges involvealcohol and in 81% of these incidents, both the victim and theperpetrator are usually drunk(Abbey, 2012). Apart from alcohol, there seem to be aprevalent traditional believe that encourage men to seek to dominatewomen. For example, most men think that when a woman says "no"she only wants them to convince her. Traditionally, there is aperception that men are always interested in sex while women shouldnever express their sexuality unless convinced. Besides, men alsohave a negative stereotype towards drinking women. Many college menthink that women who go to bars tend to be sexually promiscuous andtherefore this group makes the largest victims of sexual assault.Additionally, some men use alcohol to approach a woman. If this isthe case, the perpetrator of sexual assault is likely to misinterpretany gesture from his victim as a sign of sexual interest(Abbey, 2012).
The most immediate effect of sexual assault is physical injury. Someperpetrators of these crimes use crude methods to overpower orincapacitate their victim. As such, the victim may sustain someinjury that may require medical attention.Additionally, thevictims of sexual assault are exposed to the risk of sexuallytransmitted diseases (National Institute of Justice, 2016). Forfemale students, they may end up getting pregnant. Victims may alsoface long-term mental health effects such as post-traumatic stressdisorder, depression, and anxiety. These psychological effects canhave a devastating effect on a student’s academic achievement.Assaulted students more often drop courses, leave school or transfer(National Institute of Justice, 2016).
Research shows that 50% of cases of sexual assault in college usuallyinvolves alcohol (Abbey,2012). As such, college students should always limittheir alcohol intake. Alcohol not only incapacitates the victim, butalso distorts his/her judgment (Abbey,2012). As such, college students should know theiralcohol limit. The other strategy for reducing sexual assault iswatching one’s drinks. Some of the perpetrators of rape plan theirmaneuvers in advance. In some cases, some perpetrators use sleepingpills or other drugs on their victim’s drinks when the latter isnot present or are unaware. As such, one should not leave his/herdrinks unattended if he/she has to go anywhere. Every person shouldalso learn to trust his/her instinct. If one has a bad feeling aboutcertain people or location, one should leave immediately or notifyhis/her friends via message to come and pick them up. Following anincident of sexual assault, the victim should notify the relevantauthority, particularly the campus law enforcement agency. The nextstep is to get medical attention. There are also some organizationsthat help victims of sexual assault such as the National SexualAssault Hotline. On the other hand, institutions of higher learningshould adopt prevention strategies, risk reduction, and response andsupport programs (The American College Health Association, 2016).
In conclusion, sexual assault is prevalent on college campuses, andwomen are the biggest causalities. One in every five women in collegeis a victim of sexual assault. Alcohol is the leading causes of theproblem as it is known to crowd judgment and incapacitates thevictims. Apart from alcohol, there is a prevalent negative perceptionand stereotype that encourage men to sexually dominate women. Some ofthe effects of sexual violence are poor performance, psychologicaldisorders, pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Abbey, A.(2012). Alcohol-related sexual assault: A common problem amongcollege students. Journalof studies on alcohol. Supplement,(14), 118.
National Institute of Justice. (2016). "Sexual assault oncampus." Accessed on October 29, 2016.http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/campus/pages/welcome.aspx
Rape, Abuse &Incest National Network. (2016). “Campus sexual violence:statistics.” Accessed on October 9, 2016.https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence
The American College Health Association. (2016). “Addressing Sexualand Relationship Violence on College and University Campuses.Accessed on October 29, 2016.https://www.acha.org/documents/resources/guidelines/Addressing_Sexual_Violence.pdf