Thanks to the bravery of sexual assault survivors willing to speak out and tell their stories, national leaders are starting to take action to protect students on college campuses.
Former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made this cause a focal point of their administration. They wielded the Title IX act, which prevents discrimination based on gender in higher education. In 2014, President Obama established the Not Alone task force to take a deep dive into the issue.
In 2015, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers reintroduced a bill aimed at reducing sexual assault on campuses called the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA). Supporters aim to increase transparency and cooperation between higher education institutions and law enforcement as a way of ensuring victims of assault receive a fair investigation
The work and interest of lawmakers is a welcome step towards ending sexual assault on campuses, and these higher education institutions have introduced new initiatives with the aim of reducing sexual assault on their campuses. Here, we’ll examine some schools that have introduced new initiatives aimed at reducing sexual assaults on their campuses.
Berkeley embraces technology to protect students
The University of California, Berkeley is currently partnering with Revolar to conduct a randomized trial to test the impact that digital safety tools can have in combating campus sexual violence. The study involves a control group, a test group of students equipped with a Revolar safety device as well as another test group with a safety app. A series of surveys will be conducted with each group before, during and after the test period to gauge feelings of security on campus. When the study wraps later this year, the researchers will have a valuable pool of data to help them determine how we can make college campuses safer with technology.
The University of Michigan gives survivors a stage to speak out
The University of Michigan has made sexual assault prevention a major focus for years. The on-campus Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center provides both professional services to students dealing with assault and student leadership programs aimed at preventing sexual assault on campus. Every year, SAPAC gives survivors of sexual violence a chance to share their story in a safe setting with their annual Speak Out event. This year’s event marked the 30th installment of this powerful night.
Dartmouth focuses on the bystanders
Dartmouth University has taken flak in recent years for the amount of sexual assaults reported on its campus in 2014. Since then, Dartmouth has taken new steps to prevent sexual assault and protect students on campus.The school’s primary tool is bystander intervention training, a practice by which students are trained to identify and step in to prevent risky situations. Starting in fall 2015, the school kicked its efforts up a notch by requiring all students to participate in a four-year sexual assault prevention training program.
The University of Texas at Austin sheds light on sexual assault on campus
A recent survey from the University of Texas at Austin gave groundbreaking insight into sexual assault on campus. The survey, which was distributed to 27 universities, revealed 23% of women interviewed had been a victim of sexual assault. Other startling findings such as that at UT Austin, only about a quarter of students who were victims of forceful assault came forward to alert authorities and 47.7% of students said they had been victims of harassment. Since this data was published, UT Austin has set forth a new investigative protocol.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst no longer goes Greek
Fraternities have long been marked as danger zones for female students. Umass Amherst has taken a bold step towards ending sexual assault on campus: banning all fraternities and sororities. In 2014, after coming under fire for mishandling sexual abuse complaints, the university made moves to end the invisibility of the school’s off-campus fraternities and sororities by banning them altogether.
Preventing assault is the reason Revolar was born. Learn more here.