Colleges Are Covering Up The Issue Of Sexual Assault
Politics and Activism

Colleges Are Covering Up The Issue Of Sexual Assault

This is a growing problem, and it needs to stop NOW

2737
Colleges Are Covering Up The Issue Of Sexual Assault

Why is sexual assault such a recurring problem on college campuses in the United States? Why is there such little talk about it, when it is one of the most rapidly growing problems amongst eighteen to twenty-two year olds? Why is it that 1- in - 5 women are sexually assaulted during their time in college?

The problem lies in the fact that college officials, athletic directors, and campus police have been brushing these cases under the rug in order to save face and continue to generate revenue from the influx of students to their schools. No one wants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their child to attend a school where they may be sexually assaulted, so colleges hide these allegations. By setting the precedent of little to no consequences for committing rape or sexual assault, these adults who are in power are perpetuating rape culture on college campuses.

I recently watched CNN’s “The Hunting Ground”, an exposé detailing the frequency of campus rape and the dismissal of it by school presidents, officials, and police officers. Yes, I said police officers. Let me start by saying that I am not advocating for or against this documentary, but many of the facts that it presented were quite shocking and disturbing to me, pushing me to write this article. Although this documentary was criticized very harshly by many on its biased view of the events it portrayed, I have found through more research that the majority of the facts it presented are true.

One of the main stories that was brought up in "The Hunting Ground", which struck me deeply, was that of Erica Kinsman. She wasa student at Florida State University when she became the victim of rape. Erica immediately went to campus police and the Tallahassee police department the morning after her assault, and had a rape kit done at a nearby hospital. Over a month later, police finally identified her rapist as FSU’s rising football star Jameis Winston, and waited another two weeks to contact him about the incident. A few weeks later, Tallahassee police closed the case without ever hearing from Winston or any key witnesses, one of which filmed part of the sexual assault.

After no repercussions for her rapist, Erica Kinsman decided to pursue a Title IX investigation through FSU’s code of conduct proceedings. At this time a second student accused Winston of sexual assault, and the Dean of Students sent an email to FSU’s Policy Chief stating that Winston would not have any disciplinary hearings for either of these cases. Almost a year after her rape, the DNA collected from Erica’s rape kit is finally tested and matched to Winston. However, the State Attorney’s office announced that Winston would not be charged, and the Tallahassee police’s investigation was closed. Another year passed, and FSU finally decides to hold multiple hearings; Erica answered all 153 questions asked of her, and Winston refused to answer all but 3 questions. Over two years after her rape, Erica Kinsman’s case was dismissed by an FSU hearing officer that “found Winston not responsible for rape” even though his 3 answers clearly displayed that he violated FSU’s specific student consent policy requiring verbal consent in sexual encounters.

After watching Erica’s tragic story unfold, I am appalled at the way this situation was handled. The Department of Education suggests that all cases of this nature be resolved within 60 days of the accusation. Why, then, did FSU decide to stretch this incident out over more than two years, and not even test the rape kit for almost a full year after the offense? As a victim, Erica did everything right: she notified the school and local police, went to the hospital and had a rape kit administered, and gave the authorities all of the information that she knew. So why did the police not obtain security footage from the bar that Erica Kinsman was at to identify the man she left with? And why did they wait so long to contact Winston?

As was portrayed in other segments of “The Hunting Ground”, many schools have acted similarly to the FSU case. Colleges protect their student athletes because they view these individuals as a source of tremendous income towards the institution. But ask yourself: is monetary gain really a more worthy cause than bringing rapists to justice? Are donations really worth the tradeoff of obstructing justice for victims of sexual assault, often causing a multitude of negative side affects that will stick with the victim for the rest of their life? When did financial gain become more important to educational institutions than the safety and well being of students?

In this country, it is Title IX of the Education Amendments that calls for “the nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance”. This law also acts as a tool for those fighting against sexual assault and rape, because being sexually assaulted in your learning environment results in the denial of access to equal educational opportunities for those victims. Under this title, it is breaking federal law when victims of sexual assault are being swept aside and silenced on college campuses.

It has been found that 88 percent of sexual assaults that occur on college campuses are not reported. But that statistic makes sense in light of the atmosphere that college officials have fostered. If large-scale cases like Erica Kinsman’s can be dismissed not only by the Dean, but various other school officials, AND the local police force, then why would anyone have hope that their situation would be brought to justice? The attitude set forth by college administrators is that they do not like to bring attention towards sexual assault on their campus; therefore, the students committing these crimes get off with little or no penalties for their actions. This creates an unwelcoming and unhelpful environment for victims of sexual assault, and pushes victims to not report what has happened to them.

In a recent survey, 95 percent of college presidents who participated said that they handle sexual assault “appropriately”. However, many institutions hide incidents of sexual assault from public knowledge, and give the offenders a day of community service or a day of suspension from classes as punishment. If this is the “appropriate” response for sexual assault, then I have a serious problem with our system of higher education. Out in the real world, convicted rapists serve years in prison for this crime, and some get sentenced to life behind bars based on their circumstance. So what makes college students and athletes immune to the real world consequences of sexually assaulting another human being? It simply does not make sense to me.

In order to bring about change, people must start advocating for victims of sexual assault. As noted in “The Hunting Ground”, in many top colleges, professors and other officials have been fired when they begin to seriously advocate for transparency and increased action towards sexual assault on campus. This only proves that colleges have become institutions focused more on their reputations than the well being of their students. That is sickening, and needs to change.

No college wants to be the first to admit to full accountability in regards to the actual number of sexual assaults that take place on its campus, which is why we need to push for ALL colleges to become open and transparent in this matter. The first step towards change is knowledge, and the second step is action. Hopefully, you as a reader, will continue to educate yourself on this pressing issue, and share your knowledge with others to help bring about the changes that colleges these days so desperately need.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments