Assault includes unwanted touching, penetration, unwanted sexual intercourse, and rape or attempted rape. Sexual assault is illegal under federal law. It is a violation of a person’s civil rights.
A White House task force reported on the results of an investigation into how schools are dealing with assault. It published a list of 55 colleges and universities with reported incidents. The study found that, while nearly 20 percent of female college students were assaulted, only 12 percent reported the assault.
The task force said many women fear their complaints will become public. This discourages them from coming forward. It said schools must do a better job. Keeping complaints private is very important to women and to their colleges.
However, many lawsuits filed by college students have resulted in awards.
What is clear is that, both in the military and in colleges, violence against women is happening and is rising.
Student activists are pleased by the federal action. They hope more women will come forward when they have complaints. Student groups are trying to learn more about the legal definition of sexual assault. This includes the definition of “consent.” They believe such knowledge will help schools determine when a criminal act has taken place.
Politicians are calling for more transparency in the way schools deal with sexual assault.
Source: The New York Times May 1, 2014