Sexual assault is a rampant problem too often ignored at colleges.
Nearly 3 percent of college women in the United States have been raped, statistics indicate.
According to the American Association for University Women, this means that at a college with 6,000 co-ed students, there is an average of one rape per day during the academic year.
At Temple, there are about 25,000 undergraduate students. You do the math.
Only 5 percent of rape survivors in colleges, however, ever report their rapes to police, according to the AAUW. Less than half tell anyone at all about the incident.
Why don’t students who are raped and sexually assaulted report it? Some argue that the resources available on campus aren’t accessible enough, while some simply don’t want to relive the horrifying experience for justice that may never come.
This week, The Temple News reports an extensive investigative piece on sexual assault at colleges and universities, specifically Temple and its local counterparts. The story takes a look at what mechanisms are in place to give sexual assault and rape survivors at the schools the justice and peace of mind they deserve.
One provision that Temple and many other schools have in place are ombudspersons, or individuals charged with the task of helping members of the university community file complaints related to discrimination or harassment. They are there to act as navigators for students who need to file and resolve these complaints and follow up on them.
Though these individuals do indeed exist at Temple, very few students seem aware that they are there to help. While having someone there to help navigate what can easily become a complex and convoluted university bureaucracy would not in any way help to heal the deep wounds caused by rape and sexual assault, perhaps making the ombudspersons existence known to students would aid those struggling with whether or not to come forward about an attack or incident.
Another important aspect involving sexual assault on campuses relates to a piece of legislation that would require all university students to take a course on the matter. With a statistic as high as 20 to 25 percent of women alone – the National Center for Victims of Crime reports that experts believe current male rape statistics vastly underrepresent the actual number of males 12 and up who are victims of rape each year – will experience rape or attempted rape during their college careers, it should be a no-brainer for lawmakers and university administrators.