This scholarly article touches base upon various issues of sexual assault on college campuses. The main point of this article was to highlight the scientific findings of why college students who were victims of sexual assault did not report their attack. This scholarly article touches base upon the methods and samples that were taken, the findings, and the reasoning of why they did not report their assault, with specifics details in the reasoning's behind why this attack went un-reported. This article conducted findings that resulted in 95% of sexual assault survivors that did not report, while other studies found that 80% of victims did not report. This specific study had a higher percentage of students that did not report their attack, compared to other findings. The most common reason that sexual assault victims did not report their attack was because "It was not a big enough deal to report". This phrase "... may indicate that the young women internalized messages from the dominant culture, encouraging them to dismiss and downplay the severity of the violence enacted on them. This is consistent with a rape culture in which the dominant discourse normalizes men’s sexual violence against women (e.g., Hlavka, 2014) and hetero normative messages that view male sexuality as aggressive, powerful, and dominant are rampant (Butler, 1999; Johnson, 2005)." Some other responses this study found that were claimed by students who were sexually assaulted include phrases such as: "I didn't know who to report to, or didn't know it could be reported", "I was afraid", "Because I was drunk", "I didn't want to get him in trouble", "I felt as though I would be blamed for putting myself in that situation". This article states that evidence shows that those who previously received sexual assault training were less likely to use certain phrases that indicated these students were more aware of what to report and how to report their attack. This study concludes that until more work is done on college campuses, and for society to improve in general that will help victims report their attack and seek out services, the "epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses will remain". This article truly puts into perspective how survivors of sexual assault truly feel as though they are burden on society, and have various reasons of why they do not report their attack. If society begins to actually BELIEVE victims of assault, than I believe more will speak out against their attacker, which will hopefully prevent assault from happening from repeated offenders. Spencer, C., Mallory, A., Toews, M., Stith, S., & Wood, L. (2017). Why Sexual Assault Survivors Do Not Report to Universities: A Feminist Analysis. Family Relations, 66(1), 166-179. doi:10.1111/fare.12241
This video shows true accounts of survivors of sexual assault, the actual assault, who it was, how it happened, and why they didn't report it. This video is crucial to understanding the severity of sexual assault because many women in this clip began crying, and explained to the audience why sexual assault is not taken seriously in today's society. This video was chosen over others because this is their personal accounts of their experiences. The audience can hear the severity of their assault in their voices. Each victim when explaining why they didn't report their attack used similar phrasing in other articles and accounts that include: "I blamed myself for putting myself in that situation", "I knew that I had no proof", "Oh well no-one is going to believe me", "It was my word against his". The sad truth of society is that instead of providing the right treatment for victims, we tend to assume the context of their situation. Instead of us providing education to prevent the assault from happening in the first place, we are coming up with solutions to recover instead of prevent. Many times, women are blamed for their assault and asked questions about their clothing, where they were the time of the attack, if they were drunk, and various other questions. Instead we should be asking "How can we ever prevent anyone from being violated again?". Society places the blame and excuse on the victim, but yet the blame is rarely ever placed on the attacker. Too often we immediately jump to what the female could of done differently to prevent potentiality being assaulted and violated. The solution is simple: do not violate a person; do not rape a person; do not sexually assault a person. No matter what the victim is wearing, who they are with, or where they are, others are still raping, assaulting, and abusing others. The why does not matter, it is the fact that it should not be happening in the first place that we need to be focusing on. Not only is every case of assault personal to the victim, but it truly becomes apart of who they are, whether they want it too or not. The stigma around sexual assault often times prevent victims from reporting, and even after they report they are often times not believed. The "lucky" ones are supposedly the ones who have fought back or have physical marks from their attackers. They are "lucky" because their case holds better in court because there is more evidence. This statement is disgusting in so many ways, and sadly it is true. Often times, cases of assault are he said/ she said cases, with little to no evidence that would hold up in the court of law. I believe by showing victims the right support, is a great first step, because if they feel as though what happened to them is important, they will gain more courage to speak up. There are many flaws in our court system, as well as our society, but what I do believe is that every victim should be heard, believed, and supported.
University of Kansas art installation displays outfits inspired by rape survivors' stories. This exhibit shows how the myth of what you were impacts your chances of being raped or assaulted. This truly shows how if someone is going to rape or assault someone, they are going to do it regardless of where, what the victim is wearing, and what the victim looks like. Although some perpetrators do have an agenda to their crime, this exhibit truly shows how you could be wearing sweatpants, and still be violated. This article explains how this originally came to be. This movement originally started when a woman on twitter posed a question on survivors of sexual violence who "wouldn't mind sharing what they were wearing when they were assaulted". Tons of replies came in from men and women who were violated. Some of the replies not only were detailed in what they were wearing but side comments as well. One that has been stuck in my head reads: "A black skirt and red sweater. They were my roommate’s; she let me borrow them for my date. I was so excited. I really liked him. I thought he was a nice guy. But when I said slow down and cried, he didn’t stop.” This has stuck with me since because I go on dates with men I don't really know quite often. I can imagine me borrowing my friends clothes and feeling the same excitement this female felt, only to have your dignity and pride be stripped away as well as the butterflies you felt before the date. The stigma of what you wear has an affect of your chances of being violated has always baffled me. The obvious is that it has no correlation, but yet time, and time again, the implication of what you were wearing seems to always have a factor. The assumption that wearing certain clothing makes you "ask" for it more than others is truly repulsive. This display truly shows that no matter what you wear, whether it is jeans, sweats, a dress, a suit, it doesn't matter, and this displays proves to the testament that no matter what you wear a perp will attack no matter what. This website/ display has impacted me more than I could've imagined. I continually think about this, and speak about this often. I think about all the survivors and how some were eager for a first day, some were just minding their own business, some wore what they wore to make others happy. Regardless, these are outfits we see everyday on the sidewalk. This has made me think, were the victims chosen out of pure "wrong place, wrong time" or was there truly some significance. What makes these people that have been victims of violence so much different than the people wearing those outfits every single day. It often makes me think why me? What did I do that appealed to my attackers more than the other girls that were dressed identical to me. What makes me so "special"? This display makes one reconsider the preconditioned notions they may know about sexual assault, and truly puts assault in perspective of the victim. This visually shows that what you wear truly makes no difference of whether or not you will be violated. Many believe that short skirts and revealing clothes is the reason behind being a target... this display disproves that very same notion.
This study has analyzed the already produced studies of sexual assault and noticed that existing evidence shows that most assault happens against women. This academic study specified in the research of "college men as survivors of assault. Furthermore, our understanding of how sexual orientation and gender identity relate to risk for sexual assault is limited, despite indications that lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB), and gender non-conforming (GNC) students are at high risk. It is unclear if these groups are at higher risk for all types of sexual assault or if prevention programming should be tailored to address particular types of assault within these groups. Also, although women appear to be at highest risk for assault during freshman year, the dearth of studies with men or GNC students have limited conclusions about whether freshman year is also a risky period for them." (Mellins CA, Walsh K, Sarvet AL, Wall M, Gilbert L, Santelli JS, et al. (2017) Sexual assault incidents among college undergraduates: Prevalence and factors associated with risk. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0186471. https://doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0186471) This study broadens the entire scope of how victim profiling is not beneficial for any group. This strengthens my argument that assault is prevalent to everyone. "This study highlights the role of economic factors that have received limited attention in the literature. Little is known about how economic insecurity may drive vulnerability, but issues of power, privilege, and control of alcohol and space all require further examination." That anyone can be a victim of assault, and that those of a certain sexual preference are often targeted. This truly shows how sexual assault victims need to stand together more than ever because there is no such thing as a "perfect" victim. All victims are worthy enough to be heard and supported, and this article shows me that an assault victim is a victim no matter what they look like, or who they love. That justice needs to be done regardless of who is affected by assault. I chose this article to show that there is no stereotypical victim as some believe. It can be women, it can be male, it can be homosexual or heterosexual. Victims all deserve support, respect, and love, and we often choose who to believe and who not to believe based on appearance. This study truly shows how important the support of ALL survivors are, and when victims stand together it shows that their attackers do not have the power they had anymore. We need to ban together in order to show the world we are warriors, no matter how old, or how we look. We must stand together to know we are not alone.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) was founded with one mission in mind: provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaborating, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research. This website is very beneficial in regards to resources regarding sexual assault. This website includes job opportunities when working with sexual assault victims, media and press regarding sexual assault, statistics, also regards to survivors and friends and family of victims as well. This website is also useful because you can find events, donate, and how to get involved in your community as well. This website has taught me how many real outlets there are for victims to turn to. As a survivor of sexual assault, I did not know all the outlets that truly were available. This website even has a big red button at the top of the screen that says escape. If clicked upon it will automatically open up a new tab that goes to google, and NSVRC is also refreshed into a blank google page. This is for survivors who are trapped against their will, or in a dangerous situation where if caught on the website they may be harmed. I have never seen a website like this, and the reason I chose it to present upon is because it makes me feel as though this website was made specifically for those impacted by sexual violence. Most sites are just full of statistics, but this website is personalized for victims, family of victims, and those passionate about the topic. And even if you are new to the realm of sexual violence, this website has everything organized in an easily accessible format. What I have learned from this website is not only the different sources, but the overall the different types of victims that are affected. For example, one statistic given reads: "Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime". They truly incorporate all sides of the spectrum when it comes to those who are affected by sexual violence. Not only male and female statistics, but racial statistics as well. They have statistical sections for child, college, and reports of assault. But my favorite perspective that NSVRC.org gives is the "cost" of sexual assault. Some examples read as followed: "The lifetime cost of rape per victim is $122,461. Annually, rape costs the U.S. more than any other crime ($127 billion), followed by assault ($93 billion), murder ($71 billion), and drunk driving, including fatalities ($61 billion). Health care is 16% higher for women who were sexually abused as children and 36% higher for women who were physically and sexually abused as children". This site has brought in various perspectives of sexual violence and the literal cost of sexual violence in the U.S. The way they have skewed the image of sexual violence to make it everyone's concern, not just the victims or families is something very few sources have been able to accomplish. And yet, rapist barely are put in jail cells, while politicians are urging drug dealers to be prosecuted more and more everyday. What is the true price of sexual violence? And not only for the victims, but for America. We truly need to take this issue more seriously because it is not just a certain group who is affected by this. It falls on a much broader scope than what many tend to believe.
A bill which would have allowed universities to report rapes to police with the victim's permission failed Monday amidst heavy opposition, including from BYU students and faculty. This article talked about how dangerous this bill could of been if passed. “Victims advocates across the country, across the state and in the local area all recognize that giving power and control, giving confidentiality back to victims of sexual assault, is the right way forward and HB254 is the wrong way,” Bitton said." (http://universe.byu.edu/2018/03/07/hb254-bill-related-to-university-sexual-violence-reports-fails/). If this bill is passed it is taking all of the power the victim has left, and stripping it away from them. The only power the victim feels that they have left is in their story, and this bill was essentially stripping them away from that power. Every time this bill comes up in Congress, which is every year, it will make it so victims are re-victimized every time it comes up. This bill is being revisited because it is stating that Title IX isn't enough. Although I do have to agree that something is wrong in our system with how we handle assault survivors, I do believe that this bill is NOT the solution. Having to relive my experience is something I couldn't do and even after years I still become physically ill when I see my attacker. The thought of forcing victims to face their attacker and relive that experience over and over is something that is up to the victim. And than even after they face their attacker, having to go through all that trama to be told nothing will be done because there "isn't enough" is corrupting victims even more. Being told they are not believed or they are not enough to beat their attacker yet again, and knowing they will walk free and having to be aware that you may have to face them on the street as they walk free is something no victim should have to go through. To some, not letting the victim decide what happens to their attacker is not worth the trauma they would have to relive in order to be told their pain is not "enough". This shows that even with an effort from the government, it is the wrong approach to a solution that is much more complicated, and can not be solved by a bunch of older white males trying to decide how to solve the problem. Often times, statistics have shown that even when reported to officers, they are either doubted, or ridiculed. In my case, the officer I had to report my assault case to told my parents I was "giddy" about the situation, and that I acted as though I "wanted it to happen". Therefore, if a law is made that when a victim confides in the school system and they HAVE to report to the police, often times the police will not take the case seriously either. In some cases, like a recent rape and murder of an 8 year old in India, 3 of the 8 men that were involved were police officers. Therefore we need to focus on the actual issue at hand, and not just a quick fix to a life long issue.
This article has made me truly realize the lack of concern shown by government in regards to campus sexual assault cases. Not only are complaints being filed by students about their concern for their lack of safety on their campus, but nothing is further being done to investigated the campuses that have been reported. The Department of Education seems to completely be unconcerned with a rise in complaints from students. One student was raped, went to security, and was forced to sit there with no bathroom breaks, no food or drink, for nearly EIGHT hours. And when the college was investigated? Federal officials found “certain serious shortcomings” in the school's campus safety operations", but after this was discovered NOTHING was done and the school has not even heard back from the department on the issue. Not only is this concerning for the students, but for future victims as well. They are watching how cases are being handled, and because of this, it will discourage future victims from reporting. This to me truly puts into scale how unconcerned our government is about the issue of assault in general, but especially on college campuses. Not only does a traumatic experience such as sexual violence often cause mental illness, but studies have shown that the victims grades also tend to drop. This issue is not just the "victims" issue, but it affects the entire school and community surrounding it as well. If the government keeps dismissing issues such as this, there will be no hope for survivors, and perpetrators will become an all time high knowing no consequences are in place. This is alarming not only for the present generation, but especially for the future generations to come. Realizing that the men who assaulted me had no consequences, and that someday I might bring a daughter into this world that could be sexual violated as well is terrifying. Knowing that nothing is being done in order to make progress from this issue, and it is as if the department of education isn't even TRYING to make progress is disappointing to say the least. When schools keep violating the rules in place, and consequences are not meeting the school, the perpetrator, it makes the victim seem as though they are not important. That this life changing event is no significance; or at least not a "big enough deal" for the school or government to care about. I believe when the media publishes post with information such as this, it is good for the public to know they are being ignored, but it is also frustrating for survivors. Knowing that nothing is being done to help put attackers away is disappointing, and more importantly disheartening. You begin to realize that the future victims will have little to no chance of being successful in putting their attacker away, especially without the government on their side. We, as a society, need to be progressing forward in the laws and consequences regarding sexual assault, and this article only makes me realize we are distancing ourselves from this instead of moving closer to our goal; which is to shape a society where victims feel safe, and that is including support from the educational institutions, and our government.
End Rape on Campus (EROC) is a survivor advocacy organization dedicated to ending sexual violence through survivor support, public education, and policy and legislative reform. This website not only informed me more on the actual laws and rules we have regarding sexual violence, but it also provided me with resources to help strengthen my argument with why sexual violence is such an issue at college campuses. The main source that I find beneficial, but at the same time could be problematic is their campus accountability map. What this is, is an interactive map that allows users to view "in-depth information on each institution’s sexual assault investigation policies, prevention efforts, and available survivor support resources as well as high-level statistics on definitions, training's, sanctions and investigations. The map also allows users to compare these metrics between schools and gain a better understanding of what policies look like across the nation through a user-friendly interface." This is beneficial in the sense that it shows something is being done in certain colleges across the country, but this only represents the known and reported cases. Therefore when some view this map it could be misleading in the sense that this is all the cases throughout the U.S. Another issue I have with this map is that it doesn't represent any small colleges, like UD. Whatever reason that is, it makes some people believe the smaller colleges aren't as important as the bigger ones. This is an issue because victims of smaller colleges may not feel as "important" compared to those who attend the bigger universities that are shown on the map. This website is also useful in the fact that it provides press publishing, jobs, volunteering opportunities, how to take action, and its own blog. This website strictly focuses on college campuses and sexual violence which I believe is very beneficial for my argument. Not only does it focus on the group I am focusing on, but it also provides more insight for the significance that sexual violence poses on college students. This is a great website to provide evidence for my claim, as well as provide various other outlets to strengthen my argument. By understanding the issue, we can begin to work on as a society, and through our educational institutions on providing solutions, and better punishments for the perpetrator. By understanding the issue, we also can help victims by providing better coping mechanisms, and making them feel as though they are important. In society today, we often throw victims to the side instead of truly focusing on them. We tend to focus on the reason why it happened to them, when in reality they wonder that everyday. With resources such as this, we can begin to better understand their feelings, and than be able to provide the support and council they need.