In recent news, several colleges in the United States are receiving criticism for their response (or lack there of) to the rapes and assaults regularly occurring on their campuses.
In one instance, a student reported the abuse she suffered from an ex-boyfriend and was later threatened with expulsion for making the report (see article linked above).
Despite the fact that sexual violence is a daily occurrence on campuses around the world, reports are rarely made. In many instances, students are persecuted for reporting an attack. Creating an environment in which young men and women know they will receive threats or criticism if they report a crime only increases the already-high number of assaults which go unreported.
One weakness of most universities is the manner in which they approach rape prevention education. Rather than target potential offenders, schools target potential victims. Groups of freshman girls are told, “Don’t go out alone at night” or “Carry a rape whistle”.
It’s typical of the culture: we warn people not to be raped. That is not prevention; it’s an attempt at protection. It’s placing the burden on a potential victim rather than placing the responsibility for the violence upon the attacker.
Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 7 university students will be assaulted during their years in school. Students have learned that they must be proactive if their university will not. Where universities and colleges have failed to do their job in protecting students, student-led groups have stepped up to ensure that rape is no longer a hushed up issue.