Sexual Assault on Campus is an issue that happens but does not get enough “light” shined on it as it should. This type of assault needs to be taken seriously and taken into the matter that the victim suffers not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. In general, it not only happens to women but to men as well, although women are the ones who speak out. There are cases that try to go to court and get justice for the victim, the University let alone the system does not do justice that is enough for the victim but instead for the accuser. First, what is sexual assault? Some may not know but there are many forms of sexual assault According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” (BestSchool). Victims of sexual assault on campus happen more often than you think and one would think that the school will help the victim fight for what’s right is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, little to no chance or it’s going to take some real effort and patience although one thing that does remain the same is that it is never the victim’s fault. The actual assault is not typically a stranger, it is in most cases someone that is close to the victim, someone that the victim finds comfort or even security. “Roughly one in five women and 15 percent of men are assaulted on campus, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center” (The Inquirer), one in five women are assaulted. Can you picture that, those women can be your niece, daughter, cousin or even your neighbor can be part of that percent?
Being sexually assaulted in general can cause depression, anxiety, isolation, or attempted or completed suicide as chronic effects of surviving the assault. While trying to live a “normal” life like the doctors tell them to do or try, in the back of their heads they are still confused and still in shock as to what happened or what really happened actually happen to them. In the case of an ex-frat president, written by Amanda Arnold on The Cut, Jacob Walter Anderson who then was 21-year-old, was accused of raping a 19-year-old girl whose name will go by Donna Doe to protect her identity. According to The Cut, “Anderson’s arrest affidavit, Donna Doe started to become “disoriented” at the party from the punch that someone handed her, after which Anderson took her to “a secluded part of the grounds behind a tent. Then, Doe told the police that Anderson forcibly sexually assaulted her after she lost consciousness.” Jacob Anderson originally, because the case took a wild turn, was facing 2 to 20 years in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine on each of his four sexual-assault charges. But, on October 15, he was offered a lenient plea deal for a lesser charge of “unlawful restraint” (The Cut). The lesser charge consists of three years of probation, not prison or jail time, a $400 fine, and counseling, but would never serve any jail time and would not have to register as a sex offender.
Anderson was facing a $10,000 fine and 20 years in prison at first, all went down to just $400 fine and counseling. State District Judge Ralph Strother accepted the deal, following the judge’s decision “Doe told the judge through tears “I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment”. Can you imagine you are at a party, having fun and someone hands you a drink and then you start to feel disorientated and you know something isn’t right that you even pass out? Probation and counseling were a way of letting Anderson off the hook all while the victim is thinking that it was her fault for attending the party, accepting a drink, for being there, for even being a girl even thinking that it was wrong place wrong time. The survivor’s family was shocked to learn of the plea deal in an email from Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde. Judge Strother has given a lighter sentence to a man accused of sexually assaulting a Baylor student (The Cut). “He’s done so on at least two other occasions, CBS News reports: In 2003, he approved probation for a man who pleaded guilty to rape, and earlier this year he allowed someone to serve his 30-day jail sentence on weekends” (The Cut). It is the judge himself who has been lenient on the accusers of rape and so far, no one has come to an idea or an answer as to why he is doing that. The second case a Yale student Saifullah Khan, 25 was suspended by the university after being accused of sexually assaulting a female, who has name is not mentioned, classmate on Halloween night, 2015. “On, Wednesday, Khan was found not guilty of rape, following a court trial in which defense attorneys repeatedly attempted to discredit the alleged victim for drinking and not wearing a more modest costume.” (The Cut) The Department of Justice estimates that only 4 to 20 percent of the female college students who are raped report their sexual assault to authorities. The case also highlights the divided between the legal system and the #MeToo movement. Khan’s lawyers repeatedly asked the alleged victim how much she had to drink and why she was able to remember the assault but no other details, they insinuated that she had been flirting with Khan via text message days before the alleged rape. According to the Times, attorneys representing Khan tried to discredit the alleged victim, claiming she was the sexual aggressor. The lawyers not only are saying she “asked for it” without actually saying it, but they also showed off the complainant’s black cat outfit- her Halloween costume and asked why she did not wear something more conservative like in the Cinderella movie, in a long flowing gown. The way she is dressed is supposed to be an excuse for a female to be sexually assaulted or rape because she is asking for it when in reality the way a woman is dressed has nothing to do with getting a “man’s” attention much less to assault her, it is a way of freedom expression that artist can do or are doing. As the New York Times reports, the trial against Khan was noteworthy given just how few campus rapes make it to trial-and how rarely these cases involve open court testimony.
Although certain cases, such as that of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, do see the inside of the courtroom. Defense attorneys also accused Yale of using Khan as a scapegoat for the university’s previous mishandling of sexual-assault claims, and of course Yale declined to comment to the Register and an attorney for the alleged victim declined to comment to the Times. Now I know your mind is blown that things like this actually happen or that the statistics are really high and now you’re thinking of a way to find a solution to think of a solution that either the republicans or democrats can do is like trying to find a needle in the haystack simply because it has to be something that must take effect in all the universities, how can someone start on finding a solution to all the chaos? Well, the Democrats platform only dedicated one paragraph of the platform to sexual assault, “there’s some promising stuff in there: comprehensive support for survivors, and sexual violence prevention programs in colleges and in high schools. Most important, they promise a “fair process for all on-campus disciplinary proceedings.” (Revelist) Which they basically mean more justice for the survivors and hopefully no more book reports for those found responsible for rape. The Republican platform, however, avoids the use of the idea of on-campus proceedings altogether. “whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge,” the platforms read. (Revelist) The Republican platform is that the questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt.
The idea of taking campus rape cases to court undermines the purpose of campus proceedings which are to show survivors that the school is serious about stopping rape; and keeping them safe on campus. Sexual assault on campus is happening as we speak despite not hearing a new case on the news. The new cases will not hit the news nor will it get the attention that it needs for a true change to happen unless the victim is someone’s child who is important. The victims suffer far more than the accuser does, let alone the accuser does not get punished accordingly. The victim will continue to suffer despite receiving counseling or help because it’s a trauma that happened to them. Even though they know it is happening across the world, but it never crossed their mind that it will happen to them especially on school grounds. Once you have become part of the community, it is hard to go back to live a normal life, just take a moment to think and imagine in being in the victim’s shoes and knowing your accuser did not get punished the way they should be, instead basically getting a slap on the wrist and being told not to do it again. Sexual assault will continue to happen despite the world looks fine, but what one person does can make a change.
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