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Sexual Assault on Campus


                Campus sexual assault can be referred to sexual assault of a student attending an institution of higher learning like university or college. While sexual assault can be described as any type of behaviour as well as physical contact which make the person uncomfortable and is without his consent. Sexual assault on college campuses occurs more frequently among women than men. It has been reported that 20 to 25 percent of college women are victims of forced sex in college. While 5.4 percent of men also experience the same. This problem is increasing with every passing day. This is mainly because 90 percent of sexual assault cases of colleges are not reported (nsvrc.org, 2018, p. 01). Alcohol is the major factor which facilitates the sexual assaults. The victims do not suffer only at that time of violence they also remain in a continuous stress and fear situation due to which they develop various kind of psychological disorders. In severe cases, they commit suicide. It is necessary that college campuses provide proper protection to the students. Pre-counselling and training sessions can help in handling the situation without much problem.

Types of sexual Assault

                Sexual assault in campuses can be of various types. The most common form of sexual assault is unwanted physical contact. The problem of sexual assault starts with sexual coercion which is followed by incapacitated rape and then attempted, forcible or complete rape (Lisa, Holmes, & Backes, 2018).  Although people from all gender, age and race can be the victim of sexual assault the women are the main target in it. Several official reports have confirmed that in above 20 – 25 percent of cases, women are the main victim. According to a report of RAINN, the women of age 18 to 24 are at the elevated risk of sexual violence in the college campuses. In all the statistics it can be clearly observed that women are more vulnerable to these attacks. Although men also experience this assault but their number is small. For example, according to report of RAINN, among professional and graduate students 8.8 percent females while 2.2 percent males experience sexual violence. While in case of undergraduate students there are 23.1 percent female and only 5.4 percent males experience sexual assault or rape (rainn.org, 2018, p. 01). In most of the cases it has been observed that assaulter is the friend, acquaintance or a known person.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

By seeing the increased sexual assault in the college campuses it could be said that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is being violated. Under this federal civil right law sex discrimination in education is prohibited. This law covers all the students, teachers and other staff which is present in the vicinity of college. Both sexual violence and sexual assault are considered as the type of sex discrimination which covers under Title IX. Although all the students are vulnerable to sexual assault the women are the main target in most of the cases which shows that women are not safe. Their comfort level also affects along with their ability to participate in the campus life. Title IX provides protection to the students. Once the college or university authority gets to know about such case, they are liable under Title IX for investigating the whole complaint and take a significant step to protect the student (aauw.org, 2017, p. 01).

Freshmen Parties

                Hundreds of thousands of new students join college or university campuses every year for the first time. It is a period of excitement and discovery for them. However, experts have claimed that the first 6 weeks of the students are most dangerous time as in this time period, chances of campus sexual assault are high. according to a report of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), above 50% campus assault cases occur between August and November, which is the time of joining of new students. In these months, freshmen parties are common and even little drinking experience makes the person vulnerable to sexual attacks (AGGELER, 2017, p. 01). It is further revealed by the report that 23.1 percent of female, 5.4 percent of male students and 21 percent of transgender, nonconforming and genderqueer students experience sexual assault. Moreover, according to a report of National Institute of Justice, in the 90 percent of cases of campus sexual assault, the victim knows their assaulter. While the Clery Act report has revealed that, 74 percent of reported rapes occurred in the on-campus residence (AGGELER, 2017).

Elements which Support Sexual Assault

                There are several major elements which contribute significantly to the campus assault but alcohol is considered to play a major role in campus sexual assault. This is mainly because college is the place where young people get a significant chance to do real-time experiment with alcohol and sex. The combination of sex and alcohol can lead to inappropriate and even dangerous consequences for young women and some of the time for young men as well. alcohol is used in more than one way to facilitate the campus sexual assault. For example, in some of the cases the victim is drunk due to which he is unable to analyse the situation clearly and assulater take advantage of the situation. while in other cases, the drink of the victim can be spiked purposefully for creating a situation in which victim is unable to fight. It has been reported that almost 50 percent of cases of campus sexual assault involve alcohol. While 69% of the event involved in which perpetrator was drunk and in about 43 percent of cases the victim was drunk (alcohol.org, 2017, p. 01). Along with alcohol in some of the cases of campus sexual assault drugs also has been used. Moreover, in 11.2 percent of cases of sexual assault or rape, physical force, incantation or violence is used. Additionally, before sexual assault, stalking is also a common phenomenon. As 4.2 percent of students experience stalking since starting the college (rainn.org, 2018). 

Reasons for Non-Reporting

                It has been observed that from the past few years the problem of sexual assault is increasing in the USA. The severity of the problem is still unknown because most of the cases go unreported. Students do not like to report the case out of shame. According to ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), almost 95 percent of cases of sexual assault are not reported. These statistics put emphasis on the thing that campuses need to increase the prevention and support measures in the premises. There are several reasons due to which the assault cases are not reported. For example, most of the women do not report case due to distrust on authorities and fear of blame. Moreover, a new rule is going to applicable about the reporting procedure which can further discourage the students from reporting such cases (Tara & Kamimura, 2015). For example, the government is thinking to apply mediation session for the reporting of such cases which can be very tormented for the victims. This is mainly because it can be very frightening for the victim to participate in a mediation session with their assaulter. In the Obama era, the victim has to present only convincing evidence about the case (HEFLING & EMMA, 2017, p. 01). However, changed policies can make it difficult for the victims to report.

Psychological Impacts of Sexual Assault

                 sexual assault on campus can have a serious psychological, physical and emotional effects on the victims. For example, the student will be in continuous fear and tension due to which his academic background can be affected. Moreover, continuous tension can lead him to depression. The victim can get flashbacks of the past which can disturb him even during the class and he will be unable to concentrate and study properly (Lisa & Pearlman, 2015). Most of the people who are shy enough, they feel shame in sharing such incident with any friend or relative, they find alternative ways to deal with the pain, for example, they attract towards drugs or other substances which can take their consciousness for some hours and they feel relive. Moreover, some of the students use self-harm for avoiding continuous pain. Dissociation is also the common phenomenon which brain use as the self-defence. Eating and sleeping disorders are also common in such type of victims. Lastly, when the situation is completely out of their control, they use suicide as the last resort for getting rid of the problem.

Government Role in Dealing the Problem

                To deal with this serious problem the Trump government has revised the policies and rules of sexual assault. In the draft version of the purposed rules, it is necessary that college and universities will be held responsible for not reporting the sexual assault cases. They are also responsible for investigating the case appropriately and then results should be reported to the officials. It is also necessary for the victim to report the case under clear and convincing standards of evidence. moreover, the government will ensure that Title IX is strictly applied to all the college campuses. The government is quite hopeful that strict legal liabilities will change the behaviour of college and university officials towards the sexual assault cases due to which these cases will reduce (KITCHENER & HARRIS, 2018, p. 01).

Role of Campuses

                Regardless of new policies, there are some of the rights which the college campuses possess and they can use it to prevent the sexual assault cases. For example, almost 86 percent of sworn campus officials who are responsible for law enforcement has the legal authority to arrest the person outside the college grounds. Moreover, 86 percent of sworn campus has the staff members who are responsible for rape prevention. It is necessary that college and university officials should use these opportunities and contribute significantly in providing a safe environment to the students in the college campus. It is also the duty of staff that they keep a strict eye on the students about whom they have any kind of doubt. Moreover, they should talk to the students who exhibit tense behaviour during class. Special staff should be hired for roaming in the college campus corridors and other areas which are not much crowded. Additionally, it has been observed that most of the rape cases occur in the residents of college so the teachers should pay attention to that area as well. there should be a strict rule about door rooms. No outsider should be allowed. The warden should roam around for checking. One more precautionary measure is necessary about the parties. As it has been observed that plenty of sexual assault cases are reported between August to November, which is the season of new classes. The alcohol consumption during these parties should be banned or limited. The teachers should not leave the student on their own as when they are free, they like to do the things which they like. The staff should keep an eye on the activities of the student during these parties and immediately report to the security if they find any unusual behaviour from the students.

Personal Control

                Training sessions should be arranged for the students in which they are given self-defence training thus if they come along with any unusual situation, they can deal it without much problem. Training is not only necessary for the females but for the males also as juveniles are the main target of sexual assault. Awareness should be provided to the students in which they should be educated about why it is necessary to report such incidence. The reporting method should be told to them. A counsellor should be appointed in the college premises for the guidance of students.

                Along with the college officials, it is the duty of students that they should be extra conscious about their surroundings. For example, in the freshmen and other parties, students should not drink to the intoxication level because due to weak senses anyone can take advantage of them. Moreover, they should not go out late at night because someone can stalk and then kidnap them. Students should not trust the bartenders with their drinks because he can spike it. Additionally, they should tell their parents about their location and also with whom they are present there because in most of the cases the victim is acquainted with the assaulter.


                Sexual assault on a college campus is becoming a serious problem in the USA with every passing year. More and more students feel unsafe and uncomfortable in college grounds due to which their education and career get affected. It is necessary that along with government the college officials take significant steps in overcoming this problem. Awareness programs should be arranged along with training sessions. Moreover, the students should also be careful about their actions for avoiding such situations.

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