Teen Vogue seems to be America’s authority on all things, well, teen. You know, like really important things — like what Willow Smith is up to. That some no one named Zendaya is approving certain prom dresses. And God forbid you’re not up on whatever the Kardashians are doing these days. On a slow teen news week, here’s what they reported.
One in five women will be sexually assaulted during their college tenures. And it’s estimated that 95% of sexual assaults on campus go unreported, meaning the majority of victims don’t get the help and support they need, and the perpetrators don’t get punished. It’s an epidemic, and it’s up to all of us to help stop it.
Statistics are a funny thing. Supposedly, Vice President Joe Biden mentioned this statistic in 2014. What he did not mention was that statistic was found in some 2007 government sanctioned study titled The Campus Sexual Assault Study, which was conducted for the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The researchers, led by Christopher Krebs of RTI International, also surveyed men. The statistic cited by Biden only focuses on women, because apparently that’s more interesting.
Due diligence requires that we go even further back, because the actual data was compiled between 2005 and 2007. In the winter of 2006, perhaps as a last-minute hail mary, Mr. Kreb’s researchers used a Web-based survey to interview undergraduates at two large public universities, one in the Midwest and one in the South. A total of 5,446 undergraduate women, between the ages of 18-25, participated as part of a random sample. The survey was anonymous and took about 15 minutes to complete. Participants were bribed with a $10 Amazon.com certificate.
Soooo… back in 2005, more than a DECADE ago, certain bribed Midwestern and Southern women (at only two colleges) reported that they may or may not have been sexually assaulted. The Washington Post reported these results clearly can be generalized to those two large four-year southern universities, but not necessarily elsewhere. Moreover, although the results were technically statistically significant, the response rate was relatively low, and there was no indication if the assaulters were actually students or non-student visitors. We should also mention that the word “assaulted” itself is a moving target, and its definition has undoubtedly changed in the past eleven years. Smells like we need to put Mr. Krebs back to work in 2016. One in five is an alarmist statistic. I would venture to say many of these 20 percenters were skanky 2005 southern party girls who were either outright lying, defined “assault” a little too loosely, or, most likely, were involved in a completely consensual act but then forgot or changed their minds at some point after their drunken escapades were over. My educated guess is that on a national level, with a much more robust survey, legitimate female assaultees would be much closer to 4-5 percent, with men’s results even lower. Still unacceptable, but not quite as alarmist.
Look, I have daughters in college, and in no way intend to defend any sort of sexual assault, whether it’s against males or females. To me, assault is adamant to rape. But 20% of all college women are complaining they’ve been assaulted or abused? Frankly, that seems a bit high. Sure, there are plenty of dickhead guys in college who are a little too aggressive. Most guys are well aware of the word NO, but unfortunately there are those men who don’t care. Sexual assault is wrong. It must be stopped, always reported, and investigated thoroughly.
Here’s how to stop sexual assault on college campuses once and for all, college administrators. You won’t like it, students won’t like it, and politicians are not allowed to like it publicly, but these methods have been proven effective — globally.
- Issue a firm campus dress code. Define it visually, citing photographic examples of disallowed styles. Fine or expel women who wear clothing that is too suggestive. Admit it, ladies – the only reason you dress like a slut is to get male attention. We’re not stupid.
- Ban all unsanctioned or unsupervised college parties. College is an institution of learning, not partying. Unbridled adolescents and alcoholic beverages is always a recipe for disaster.
- Issue a firm campus-wide curfew. There’s no reason a group of scantily-clad 20-year-old males or females should be running around giggling after 1 AM.
It’s ironic that we protect prisoners, airplanes, and military installations better than we protect our children. Colleges should be gated off at least as well as airports. Students, faculty, and guests should be frisked, scanned, and identified before entering any campus. Assaulters, rapists, drug dealers, and other bad influencers have no business on college property.
There’s not much you can do about off-campus parties. That’s a parent’s responsibility. Mom and Dad, if you love your children, make sure they commute, or buck-up for on-campus housing. I lived at home during college, and it didn’t kill me. And I was never assaulted.