The Campus Rape Crisis

It’s not just a military problem.
 The cover story in this week’s LA Weekly (the local ‘indie’ paper in Los Angeles, owned by Village Voice Media) is about the systemic failure of Occidental College (a small campus about 4 blocks from Vagina News HQ, it rose to national attention as Obama’s alma mater) to address sexual assault on campus. 

It’s an important read, as it’s about not only Occidental, but the broader problem of administrative failure to deal with the problem of campus rape, in large part due to fear that transparency will impact admissions.

Here are a few highlights: 

– Under state and federal law, colleges and universities are not required to report rape to the police, unless the alleged victim is a minor. That means campus sexual assault is not included in local or federal crime statistics or investigated by law enforcement unless the victim reports it herself; and that happens rarely, given the culture of victim-blaming that pervades both college administrations and local police organizations.

– A 2002 study, published in the journal Violence and Victims, found that about 90 percent of rapes on college campuses are perpetrated by serial offenders who deliberately target their victims. This directly contradicts the common misconception on the part of administrators and law enforcement that most campus sexual assault involves people who know each other and are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.

– On May 22, prominent attorney Gloria Allred — representing eight students at Oxy — announced that those clients would be joined by women from USC, UC Berkeley, Swarthmore, and Dartmouth who have filed similar complaints.  

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