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Sexual assault impacts campuses across US

Kristin Kittell | Assistant Perspectives Editor

For a university, reputation is everything. If it is not capable of producing well-rounded, intelligent and socially aware individuals, it loses credibility.

For this reason, I am amazed a school like Yale University would still produce students who, according to NPR, would chant the words “No means yes, yes means anal” while pledging to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity last year.

This incident is only one piece of the 26-page complaint filed by 16 former and current Yale students detailing the failure of the university to address incidences of sexual misconduct.

The report has sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education which is projected to be conducted over the next six months, appropriately kicking off during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Unfortunately, universities are notorious sites for sexual assault and misconduct in America. And unfortunately, they’re also notoriously bad at dealing with it.

In 2006, Annie Hylton recalled her encounter with sexual assault during an appearance on “The Early Show.” Her attacker was her date for the night and she awoke to him raping her. Despite the University of Virginia School Board’s finding her attacker had violated the school code of conduct, he faced little to no consequence, and was still permitted to attend the school and continue to live in his fraternity house.

This is not uncommon – NPR reports only 10 to 25 percent of campus men found guilty of sexual assault are expelled. When universities react this way to reported cases of sexual assault, it’s no surprise most cases go unreported. According to NPR, one in 16 of the 2,000 men surveyed over a 20 year period answered said they have engaged in sexual intercourse with individuals by physical force or because they were too intoxicated to resist them.

In spite of this looming statistic, the American Association of University Women reports only five percent of rape incidents are reported to the police. Following the news of the Yale investigation, the White House issued a statement regarding the administration’s apparent commitment to resolving this issue.

This is intended to be the beginning of a sexual awareness campaign. The statement, which can be found on the White House website, states “Alarming rates of sexual violence occur among young women attending college, and frequently, alcohol or drugs are used to incapacitate the victim,” and that “At the federal, state, local and tribal level, we must work to provide necessary resources to victims of every circumstance.”

As university students, we hold ourselves responsible for the future of our nation. We are committed to higher learning, to social awareness and to the betterment of ourselves. Our campuses should, under no circumstances, be responsible for such atrocities. I urge you to get involved with awareness activities on campus and in the community.

If you feel what’s available is inadequate, form an organization of your own. Make posters. Host movie nights centered on sexual assault. Spread the facts of the statistics, along with the message it will not be tolerated at APSU. TAS

About Aaliyah Mitchell

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