Monday, March 30, 2015

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s focus is on Campus Sexual Violence Prevention.  Sexual violence occurs when an individual is forced into unwanted sexual activity without consent because of fear, incapacitation (due to alcohol or other drugs), illness, disability or being underage.  Consent requires a clear affirmative decision and permission, and is specific each time there is a sexual interaction.  A person who is intoxicated or otherwise impaired cannot give legal consent.  THE ABSENCE OF A “NO” IS NOT A “YES”.  

Sexual assault is a crime that includes forced intercourse, other sexual contact or touching, sexual harassment, exploitation, exposure or voyeurism.  It is NEVER the victim’s fault, irrespective of what the victim wears or the nature of the relationship with the abuser. 

 According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, as many as one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college.  Nine out of ten victims know the person who assaulted them, yet over 90% do not report the assault.  No wonder a US Senate Subcommittee in 2014 found that 40% of colleges and universities report no sexual assault investigations in the previous five years!

In March 2013, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act was passed, requiring all institutions of higher learning to educate students, faculty and staff on prevention of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.  Sexual violence prevention on campuses requires a comprehensive approach to creating a safe environment for the campus community.  This includes strengthening individual knowledge and skills about sexual violence, its impact on victims and communities, how to respond to disclosures, campus policies, and local resources.  It is critical to promote community engagement and education (e.g. academic departments, student organizations, greek life, athletic teams, residence hall communities, etc.) through prevention messages that address norms, attitudes and beliefs on campus that contribute to sexual violence. 

Check out Drexel's commitment:

                                        TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

For additional information:
National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

It’s On Us:
Not Alone:
SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape):
Rape,Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE  [free, confidential, 24/7]

                                                                                                              Judith Wolf, MD
                                                                                                        Associate Director, WHEP



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