Friday, March 21, 2014

President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses

 Post by Philip Foley

We celebrate President Barack Obama’s initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
Laura Dunn (formerly of PAVE) from SurvJustice.Org, bravely spoke publicly of her sexual assault while a college student.  Ms. Dunn’s courage to speak was instrumental in supporting Kathleen on her journey to continue speaking through her books and articles. Tragically, We also had a niece impregnated by rape in college.
President Obama’s initiative needs to be expanded to include all high school and junior high schools.
In the last several years, the news has covered the tragic story of several high school girls who committed suicide as a result of being raped and the public humiliation and blame that was vested on them.
Kathleen was in high school when she was impregnated by rape. Our goddaughter was raped by a high school teacher. Several of Kathleen’s fellow students were victims of unreported sexual assault by a teacher. This was not a secret to anyone attending the school, however, no one took any action.
We reached out to Kathleen’s former high school, sending a copy of her book to every educator in the school. We wanted to provide information for these educators, hopefully making them more alert to the signs of current students who are being sexually abused.  Our effort was met with total silence.  We even followed up with the Superintendent of Schools who stated he would look into the matter.  Again, total silence.
The Obama administration’s report  "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to action," says that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.
The report was compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls. It says nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes. The Ms. Foundation for Women,, reported in The Road to Equality that the number one victims of rape are children aged 17 or younger. This supports our call to include all high and junior high schools.
We totally support the President’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, chair of the Council on Women and Girls, stating that men must be involved to combat the problem.
The report also declares that the criminal justice response to sexual assault is too often inadequate.  As a former police supervisor I recognize this problem, however, I believe the criminal justice system and it’s requirement to overcome “reasonable doubt” places victims in a very venerable emotional and physical position. Perhaps the criminal justice system is not the best place to attack this epidemic.