Act would guide assault victims
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 19:04
After the recent robberies on and near campus, students are locking their doors and clenching their purses, but should students be worried about more than just getting robbed?
It's hard to say when not all types of crimes are being reported.
The Jeanne Clery Act was implemented in 1990 as a means to protect and inform post-secondary students about crime, but only certain types of sexual assault are being reported.
The act requires every college and university to write an annual crime report detailing crime statistics for the past three years and publish information about the prevalence of and how to report crimes in adjacent public areas and certain off-campus facilities. Any crime in these areas must be recorded and if it poses an ongoing threat then students and faculty must be notified.
As it stands, the Clery Act requires two types of sexual offenses to be reported: forcible and nonforcible. Although this is better than nothing, it fails to include crimes associated with intimate-partner violence, such as stalking, dating, sexual and domestic violence.
To fix this problem, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act has been proposed as an amendment to the Jeanne Clery Act and if it passes it would totally change the way schools report and respond to incidents of sexual assault.
For young women in college sexual assault is a major fear. What was intended to be a fun night at a bar or a party could end up tragically different, and even something as innocent as date could result in sexual violence.
To add to the trauma, crimes of a sexual nature are often hard to pursue because of a lack of evidence, therefore victims are often too afraid to step forward or they just don't see the point.
The proposed revisions in the Campus SaVE Act would address issues for both the victim and the community.
If passed the victim would be given a plethora of new information concerning their rights and what course of action to take. In addition, it would also require more campus awareness programs on sexual assault and intimate-partner violence that would include prevention, defining sexual assault and how to report sexual offenses.
Sexual assault is as complex as it is tragic. It can't just be clumped into a "violent" or "nonviolent" category. If we want students to truly be informed about crime that takes place on or near campus, then we need to include more information on different types of sexual assaults.
In case you've forgotten, it was just more than a year ago that a young woman was killed near UCF after she was shot by the man who was stalking her, who then turned the gun on himself.
Stalking, relationship abuse and other forms of intimate violence are just as important as date rape and other forms of sexual assault and therefore should be reported to campus communities. Along with that, the overall prevalence of such crimes needs to be reduced through the use of prevention and education programs.
The Campus SaVE Act sounds like a great way to protect victims' rights and improve the overall quality of information available regarding sexual assault.