As noted in the ‘decisions’ post, the first step in our solution starts with Education. There are many organizations that are already in existence, that are dedicated to solving the widespread problem of sexual assault. One being RAINN, which stands for Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. This organization states it “…carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.” RAINN uses their donations to help survivors and work towards putting a stop to sexual assault. They do this by offering a hotline that victims can contact, educating people on prevention and recovery, and even by assisting with criminal trials. (Programs and Expertise, n.d.) Another organization is the NYCAASA, or The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. The NYCAASA offers education on identifying and preventing rape at colleges, so that students can familiarize themselves. (NYCAASA, 2020) The problem with this, is that it is often too late, as many become victims of sexual assault before even reaching college. Working on putting educational courses into more middle and high schools is a key component in eliminating sexual assault. These courses should focus on teaching about consent, educating on the various forms of sexual assault and promoting healthy relationships and sexuality. Additionally, it is be important to explain what do if one finds themselves in a position being sexually assaulted, or as a bystander.
Looking at colleges specifically, this is the age group that is at an elevated risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault. 11.2% of all college students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, experience rape or sexual assault. With that being said, college-age victims often do not report their assault for reasons such as, not believing they had enough proof to report, they did not want the perpetrator to get in trouble, and even believing authorities wouldn’t help. (Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics, n.d.) Title IX is a civil rights law that under it, protects against sexual harassment and violence, such as, rape and assault. This law is enforced in every school, and implemented by requiring the distribution of a policy, Title IX coordinators, and public procedures. (Know Your Rights, 2020) Title IX has certainly helped and benefited many; however, we are still seeing perpetrators get away with assault with little to no punishment. Considering that, we need to restore some balance in a system that seems to still favor the assaulter. This needs to be done by continuously updating policies, enforcing new students to take brief courses on sexual assault, and by taking extra steps as an institution to break down stigmas.
Using government funds to create more protective environments is essential in creating better conditions for victims. I feel the most important course of action at this moment, is to support victims and survivors, so that we see less long-term effects on these women and men. This requires using more resources to better improve the Acts already in place, such as, the Clery, Safer, and Victims of Crimes Acts. We need to see more government funded centers for victims, that provide services in treating both physical and emotional disorders caused by their assault. Sexual Assault Centers need to be required in all 50 states, placing various ones within a certain radius. Doing this will decrease the number of sexual assault related disorders and deaths, as it will be a “safe house” for victims to not only seek treatment, but also not feel so alone. Another aspect of creating a safer environment, is for perpetrators to receive proper punishments from courts. As discussed previously, the Brock Turner case is probably the most well-known incident of a rapist getting off with what many calls, “a slap on the wrist”. Laws surrounding sexual assault and rape must be tightened, and strengthened, so that victims can receive the justice they deserve. In order to do this, our lawmakers must work together to create universal procedure, laws and consequences. Air-tightened laws definitely won’t eliminate rape and sexual assault entirely, but it will reduce cases.
Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence
Know Your Rights: Title IX Prohibits Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Where You Go to School. (2020, August 26). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/title-ix-rights-201104.html
NYCAASA. (2020, June 11). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from http://www.svfreenyc.org/
Programs and Expertise. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://rainn.org/programs-and-expertise