Sexual Assault of College Campuses
Statement of the Problem
An assault may be well described as an evil attempt to cause a harmful act to a person, or it may be a threat to carry out the action. An assault may result in either a civil or a criminal liability because it can be a crime or a tort. In that context, sexual assault refers to unwilling or forced sexual act by a person; it may also refer to an unwilling sexual touching of a person. Sexual assault includes the following: rape, attempted rape, forced sex or forced oral sex or any sexual penetration, child abuse and unwanted sexual touching. Crime refers to unwilling sexual penetration. According to the FBI, rape relates to any form of penetration no matter how slight with the vagina or anus using any object or body part or any oral penetration by a sexual organ to a victim. To add on that, the term unwilling means force is applied and therefore in sexual assault force does not always mean to use of strength or application of physical pressure. Perpetrators may choose to manipulate their victims with the most suitable means depending on how well they understand the victim (Odem, 1998).
Psychological coercion, which entails the victim getting involved in anxiety and stress, threats that may make the victim comply, example threats to family or intimidation or another form of manipulation to coerce a victim to conduct a sexual activity, are some of the non-physical means that may be used to perform rape. Groping or fondling refers to the sexually suggestive touching of one to another without the consent of the victim it is also an assault. Also, sexual harassment is also a form of sexual assault it includes a broad range of offenses done that signify the intimidation of a sexual nature or the improper rewards for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes gender discrimination, lip-smacking, pressure for dates, obscene phone calls, making comments about one’s body, wolf-whistles, displaying explicit materials, indecent exposure, rubbing against a person, bra snapping, sexist jokes, soliciting sexual services, unwanted grabbing, and leering. Mass rape is the kind of sexual assault that takes place in public areas and crowds. It is the kind of attack that involves a group of men who bully women by inserting their hands into the women’s clothing. They go ahead to remove the clothing and penetrate their fingers into the private parts of the woman, rub against them but don’t go to the extent of raping (Bohmer and Parrot, 1993).
The study on sexual assault on college campuses is of interest because the trend is increasing and causes torture, emotional imbalance and is mostly the core cause of suicidal deaths among university students. When one undergoes sexual assault, the person devalues him or herself and if not properly counseled may end up doing more crime in a bid to feel better or simply give up on studies or worse give up on life. The characteristics of sexual assault on campuses and colleges include gang rape, acquaintance rape, victim demographics and intimate partner violence.
This is a type of abuse that is conducted by many offenders at one particular period. In regards to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 95% of all reported cases of rape are performed by one person. According to the statistic, 5% of all reported rape cases are gang rapes. It further reveals that 55%-70% of all perpetrators of gang rape are from a group of people who share a common interest. The middle to upper-class men are the most perpetrators of gang rape to college students. There is a study that further shows that most of the college gang rape cases reported show that the acts mostly occur in the college managed properties and mostly the dormitories or residential facilities.
According to a survey carried out, victims between the ages of 18 and 29 years fall prey to this form of abuse. It is the central common of all forms of rape. In this type of crime, as the name “acquaintance” suggest, is performed by a person who is familiar with the victim whereby in the survey 24% of the rape cases were conducted by an intimate partner and 2% by a relative. Though present, sexual assault by someone who is not familiar with the victim was not popular. In this kind of rape, there exists a category known as date rape which is a kind of abuse conducted by someone who was in a romantic relationship with the victim. Date rape has the highest number of reported cases. It is also the most unreported crime of all campus crimes (Piccigallo, 2008).
A survey carried out in an American college showed that sexually attractive women, former victims white women, and first-year students are the most prone to sexual assault in the campus. The survey also identifies that about 60% of all rape cases conducted are done at the victim’s residence. According to Campus Climate, the transgender and gender non-conforming students are usually at a higher risk of sexual molestation that other students. The myths and the stigma that unfolds the male sexuality more so homosexuality are the main contributors to underreporting in men.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence includes many types of abuse example, sexual assault, unwanted physical contact and psychological manipulation. It is a frequent sexual abuse by most campus students touching 1 in every three young women. Further, almost 80% of females confess to having ever experienced at least one incidence of sexual aggression when completing their courses in college. However, it is difficult for these students to avoid intimate partner violence in universities because they live far away from their guardians and parents and near the stalkers and abusers.
Why the Problem is a Significant Social Issue
Sexual assault on campus and college students is a social problem in various ways that result to physical effects, economic effects, and emotional effects. All the effects are as discussed below:
It is the assumption of many that most victims of rape are battered women who have bruises and scars all over their bodies. However, this may not be the original case as a majority of sexually assaulted victims are usually unharmed. Such stereotypes and schools of thoughts mostly prevent the victims who are not hurt to report the incidence. Sexual assault largely depends on the perpetrator if he is violent or not. On the other hand, we cannot assume that some percentage of rape for example gang rapes and mass sexual assaults often result to use of force that injures the victim in a bid to weaken the person. In such cases, the victim may have the bruises or broken limbs or scars for the act to be done. Headaches, difficulty sleeping, and chronic pain may also be felt by the victim.
An assault on one person may be seen as negligible to an economy, but when an aggregate data is analyzed the single act contributes negatively to an economy. When one fall victim to sexual assault, there is less productivity of the victim. For example, in a college situation, if a lady is raped, she would go to a hospital maybe to nurse the injuries if the person was violent or for a general check up to investigate whether the individual contracted any disease to her. By this, the girl misses her traditional classes, which further contributes to her unproductiveness in the final examinations. The psychological trauma would make her change the standard concentration in classes, and she would even fear reading alone or during the night. In the end, a nation produces a percentage of graduates who are not productive to the optimum. If this is reflected in the job market, one seeks time off frequently trying to get over what happened. In a survey conducted, survivors of rape lose $69 per day due to the time off during working hours. This will ultimately lead to lower earnings for the survivors.
Sexual assault hurts most the nervous system of a victim despite the physical trauma. Most of these include depression, guilt, numbness, loneliness, gynophobia, denial, anger, rationalization, fear, mood swings, and flashbacks helplessness, self-blame among others. Through this the victim lowers his or her productivity and if such stressful attributes continue they may lead to addiction, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychopathologies or major depressive disorder (Finley and ABC-Clio Information Services, 2011).
Campus or college sexual assault is caused by various behaviors, for example, the influence of drug abuse, attitude, pornography and indecent dressing.
One of the primary characteristics of substance addiction is impaired judgment. Having an impaired judgment means that one would not know the real intent of the other and would judge the person according to how he or she thinks is best. Alcohol, to be specific, encourages one to be involved in certain behaviors that are socially unacceptable. According to research carried out, it showed that 47% of sexual assaults on college students are linked to alcohol use. Also, women whose lovers are addicts to alcohol are more prone to sexual assaults. These findings make drug abuse one of the major contributor of sexual assaults in colleges.
Peers also influence the rate of sexual assaults in campuses. As it is well-known peers influence each other if a norm is accepted in a particular group of people then doing the act is not a crime to them. Hence, if an individual peer group has a positive attitude towards rape, then the members of that group would not fear to engage in the act. According to a study done in 2007; the college men who reported to have sexual aggression, had the negative attitude towards women, and at some point would believe that rape was justified.
Pornography is not one of the leading causes of sexual assault although it has a small contribution to those college students who are mostly obsessed or addicted to sex it leads them to have a higher sexual urge and at the end force their way to achieving the satisfaction.
Indecent dressing is also a secondary cause of the sexual assault. However, if a lady dresses indecently, she triggers the sexual desire in a man. Depending with the man’s resilience to overcome such temptations one may assume the dressing or it may be the start of a plan to assault the lady (Berkowitz, 1994).