What's the Latest?
The Office of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill recently administered a survey of over 300 four-year colleges and universities. The findings show over 40% of the schools failed to conduct a single sexual assault investigation over the past five years. Either those 125+ colleges happen to be pristine wonderlands free of rape and sexual misconduct (unlikely) or those schools massively dropped the ball and violated federal laws stipulating mandatory investigations (very likely).
This Al-Jazeera America report includes more information about the survey itself. Some of the findings are quite astounding.
What's the Big Idea?
The anti-rape groundswell in this country has grown exponentially during the past few years, most likely thanks to the popularity of Twitter and other new avenues for discourse. One only has to remember the recent popularity of the #YesAllWomen hashtag or read up on rape culture to see the degrees of frustration (and blowback) with regard to issues pertaining to patriarchy, sexual assault, and women's rights.
But what's the next big step here? The problem with internet groundswells is that they tend to get replaced or forgotten if no action is taken to keep them relevant in the greater cultural discussion. Senator McCaskill's office has announced that she will be join with Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to draft new legislation on the topic over the summer. The senators hope they can muster up enough bipartisan support to combat the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. You'd have to be a pretty awful person to take a position against such proposed legislation -- but then again, this is the Senate we're talking about.
One final point: the Department of Justice notes that fewer than 5% of rape victims report the crime. “There is a calcified belief that going to law enforcement is a mistake for a victim,” says McCaskill. Until that level of trust between victim and law enforcement is boosted, unreported (and unpunished) sexual assault is going to continue being a huge problem in this country.
Read more at Al-Jazeera America
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