Colleges Are Covering Up The Issue Of Sexual Assault

Colleges Are Covering Up The Issue Of Sexual Assault

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

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1473418/images/o-RAPE-facebook.jpg

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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