Re: What Campus Rape Crisis?

March 03, 2008

As a college student, I engaged in various forms of campus activism on the issue of sexual assault. Thus I was greatly dismayed to read a recent Los Angeles Times article entitled “What Campus Rape Crisis?” The subtitle, “Promiscuity and hype have created a phony epidemic at colleges,” succinctly states the main point of author Heather MacDonald’s article — few rapes are reported on college campuses, so few rapes occur and of those that do occur, women are partly responsible because of what the author perceives to be their promiscuous behavior.

Later in the week I was heartened to read a response opinion piece in the Times by sexual assault student activist Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, who pointed out studies and statistics disproving MacDonald’s claims. According to Niedzielski-Eichner, one of the big problems on campus is that many students lack a clear understanding of the difference between sex and rape. She advocates for better sex education that emphasizes talking openly and honestly before having sex and the creation and improvement of prevention programs, survivor services, and disciplinary proceedings on campuses.

AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund has long recognized that rape and other forms of sexual assault on campuses create a hostile campus climate and are underreported for a variety of reasons. To this end, LAF has an online resource library with facts and statistics about sexual assault on campuses, strategies for students, and models for administrators to follow to help fight sexual assault. LAF also engages in campus outreach to conduct workshops and lectures on this topic.

What are your opinions about sexual assault on campus? Have you organized or attended a sexual assault prevention program on campus? If so, what were your experiences, and do you feel it has made a difference on campus?

Holly Kearl By:   |   March 03, 2008

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