President Obama Takes On Sexual Assaults on College Campuses

The White House on Wednesday released staggering statistics on sexual assault, as the president launches a new initiative.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 22, 2014, 9:37 a.m.

The White House is tak­ing ac­tion on one of the ma­jor threats on the na­tion’s col­lege cam­puses: sexu­al as­sault.

Pres­id­ent Obama signed a memor­andum Wed­nes­day that cre­ates a task force to com­bat sexu­al as­saults. In the or­der, the pres­id­ent gives the task force 90 days to draw up some re­com­mend­a­tions on how to deal with sexu­al as­saults on col­lege cam­puses, both in terms of re­sponse and pre­ven­tion.

This task force is also be­ing used to in­crease pub­lic at­ten­tion to an is­sue that isn’t of­ten ac­know­ledged on a wide scale.

“We need to keep say­ing to any­one out there who has ever been as­saul­ted — you are not alone,” Obama said at the memor­andum sign­ing on Wed­nes­day. “You will nev­er be alone.”

Co­in­cid­ing with this new ini­ti­at­ive, the White House re­leased a re­port that shows stag­ger­ing stat­ist­ics about the threat that many fe­male col­lege stu­dents face. Some of those stat­ist­ics from the re­port are here:

the sexu­al as­sault epi­dem­ic | Cre­ate in­fograph­ics

One of the ma­jor points of the re­port shows that the ju­di­cial re­sponse to sexu­al as­saults has been in­ad­equate, not­ing the lack of pro­sec­u­tions and con­vic­tions. The re­port also notes that vic­tims of sexu­al as­sault could suf­fer from de­pres­sion or oth­er phys­ic­al ail­ments be­cause of the ab­use.

The White House hasn’t spent much en­ergy on this is­sue in the past. But some act­iv­ists have called the is­sue an “epi­dem­ic” and turned to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for help. Stu­dents from ma­jor uni­versit­ies — in­clud­ing Am­h­erst, the Uni­versity of North Car­o­lina, Wes­ley­an, Yale, Swarth­more, and Oc­ci­dent­al — have filed com­plaints in the last three years with the Edu­ca­tion De­part­ment claim­ing their col­leges vi­ol­ated two ma­jor fed­er­al civil-rights codes: Title IX and the Clery Act.

Many of these com­plaints are based on a fear that col­leges mis­treat the vic­tims of sexu­al as­sault or sexu­al har­ass­ment. Some col­lege ad­min­is­trat­ors and law of­fi­cials have used ar­gu­ments in­volving al­co­hol and false ac­cus­a­tions against these al­leged vic­tims. The White House in 2011 opened the door for ac­tion on many of these com­plaints, say­ing Title IX could be used for sexu­al-as­sault com­plaints. In fact, the White House re­port notes that there should be a cul­ture shift around rape.

“In or­der to put an end to this vi­ol­ence, we as a na­tion must see it for what it is: a crime,” the re­port states. “Not a mis­un­der­stand­ing, not a private mat­ter, not any­one’s right or any wo­man’s fault. And bystand­ers must be taught and em­boldened to step in to stop it. We can only stem the tide of vi­ol­ence if we all do our part.”

Up un­til now, the White House’s sexu­al-as­sault pre­ven­tion ef­forts have fo­cused on the mil­it­ary, and Obama has dir­ec­ted the De­fense De­part­ment to tackle that is­sue. So far, De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel has ordered mil­it­ary of­ficers to ad­dress the prob­lem and says the Pentagon has made pro­gress.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
14 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×