And I don’t mean that in a creepy phone-tapping way…
Today Associate Attorney General of the United States Tom Perrelli wrote in the Huffington Post about how campuses are “part of the solution” to ending sexual violence. He does a pretty good job of spelling out some of the particular issues faced by student victims:
We know that students who are victimized by other students often face additional challenges in a campus environment. For example, a victim of dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault may continue to live in danger if the perpetrator resides in the same dormitory or attends the same classes. On smaller campuses, a victim may wish to remain anonymous but may find this to be virtually impossible in such a small environment. Similarly, stalking victims may find it difficult to escape their tormentors, because the stalker may have a seemingly “legitimate” reason for remaining in contact with or in proximity to the victim, like studying in the library.
The fear and anguish suffered by rape victims may continue if they attend the same classes or live in the same dormitory as the perpetrator. In other cases, a victim may be harassed by classmates or by a perpetrator’s. A victim may feel compelled to remain silent and not report what has happened. Even changing class schedules or living arrangements may not eliminate the threat of encountering the perpetrator on campus.
It’s beyond exciting to see the powers that be at the federal level moving toward taking action on this and we’ll all be watching closely to see how it plays out. Recently, SAFER was excited and flattered to be asked by Security on Campus (SOC) to contribute our input on a list of policy suggestions that would enhance the Clery Act and Title IX legislation dealing with sexual assault. SOC compiled all of their brainstorming along with our suggestions and suggestions from other advocates, an presented their Campus Sexual Assault Free Environment (SAFE) Blueprint at the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Policy Forum on Friday.
More from SOC on the SAFE blueprint:
The outline focuses on the following key areas:
- Improving education and awareness in order to foster cultural change.
- Improved rights for sexual assault victims.
- Increased transparency in disciplinary proceedings, academic and other accommodations for victims.
- Stronger and better coordinated implementation of these new as well as existing federal guidelines.
So these are exciting times!!! And all of this is at least partially the result of the impact CPI was able to make with their incredible reporting, so thanks again to Kristen Lombardi and co. for making that happen. And to all of you folks who have been doing your own work and adding to the conversation.