By Barbara Young
Sexual assault is a reality many women and men must face on a daily basis. It can happen in many settings, but every case is tragic and should be combated with force. In response to this issue, the White House released three documents on April 29outlining a goal for reduced sexual assault. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education released an article addressing the responsibilities of educational facilities in regards to sexual violence under Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972.
The amendment was not changed in any way, but the information was made more easily understandable through the addition of a frequently asked questions section and further detail.
“For far too long, the incentives to prevent and respond to sexual violence have gone in the wrong direction at schools and on college campuses,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the press release. “As interpreted and enforced by the department, Title IX and other federal laws are changing these incentives to put an end to rape-permissive cultures and campus cultures that tolerate sexual assault.”
The added information in Title IX can be found at NotAlone.gov
This information came in conjunction with the White House’s release of the “1 is 2 Many” campaign. This service announcement features many famous political figures and actors that address the rates of sexual violence and how to combat this problem. The video makes a plea for people to step up and help if sexual violence is occurring in front of them.
“I am honored to be part of such an important and crucial project,” said actor Daniel Craig in the press release. “The message is clear and simple; everyone has a responsibility. There are no exceptions. There are no excuses. Please watch it and pass it on.”
The final document released from the White House asked for colleges specifically to take a greater care for their students’ well being in terms of sexual violence. The president established the White House Task Force to protect students from sexual assault on Jan. 22, 2014 with a plan to strengthen federal offense against sexual assault on campuses.
According to the announcement, the Task Force aims to provide schools with the ability to:
- Identify the scope of the problem on college campuses
- Help prevent campus sexual assault
- Help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted
- Improve and make more transparent the federal government’s enforcement efforts and continue to pursue additional executive or legislative actions in the future
So what does this mean for the University of Wisconsin–Stout? Students of the university can take proactive steps to help prevent sexual assault from occurring to their friends, acquaintances and peers.
Most rapes that occur on college campuses are acquaintance rape, or rape that takes place by an individual whom the victim knows. It is up to bystanders to interfere if they see suspicious behavior or suspect the woman is unable to properly give consent.
The goal of the campaign aims more at preventative measures, but if it comes to an investigation, UW–Stout’s police force is prepared.
Lisa Walter, chief of police at UW–Stout, said, “All officers receive what we would indicate is basic sexual assault training. We then have several officers including myself, the patrol sergeant and at least one patrol officer who have been through extensive sexual assault investigation training.”
With the release of these documents, UW–Stout students can hope for change in the future to combat the rape culture that has emerged among college campuses.
“Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students—women and men, gay and straight, transgender or not and citizens and foreign students—be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights in the article from the U.S. Department of Education. “The Office for Civil Rights stands ready to enforce this core principle to ensure all students’ safety in schools.”