I am enrolled in an intro to women and gender studies course at the moment, and for one of our assignments we have to watch a documentary titled The Hunting Ground. The focus of the documentary is sexual assault on college campuses. As I mentioned before, I present seminars about healthy relationships and sexual violence on my campus so I already know a lot of facts and statistics, but this documentary is making my blood boil. I am currently only 20 minutes into The Hunting Ground and I have so much to say.
I figured this would be a good opportunity to write my first post with actual content. As a warning before I get going, I just want to give a content warning/trigger warning so that you are aware that there may be upsetting content. From now on I will be tagging TW or CW in the tags and also putting it at the beginning of each sensitive post that I write.
For this post, I’ll be focussing on statistics surrounding college campuses and not grade school is because that is where I am most knowledgeable and don’t want to be giving false information. I am also going to be focussing on women because that’s where most statistics lie, which is a problem in itself, but I’m going with what I have. To start out, I’d like to pose a question. Do you know how prevalent rape is on your college campus? How about the percentage of false sexual assault claims?
Now, the numbers vary depending on the university you attend, but the numbers ranges are universal. One in four women on college campuses get raped. Between 2-10 (erring on the lesser side) percent of sexual assault claims on campus are falsely reported, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and any other resource you could find. Due to the nature of these numbers, it would be common sense to take every accusation as true, right? That’s not the case at most colleges.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “victim blaming” but do all of you realize how prevalent it is? When you hear about a sexual assault on campus, a lot of minds go immediately to “what was she wearing? how much did she have to drink? was she sending mixed signals?” and to be honest, that’s not completely your fault. It has been ingrained in us from when we were little. However, it is up to us to notice and change our thought patterns.
These questions are phrased in a way that suggest that rape is avoidable, that it is our job as women to cover up and watch our drinks and to always stay with a friend. However, this thinking is detrimental to every person involved, man or woman. This thinking stops survivors from coming forward and perpetuates the crime. Again, the numbers vary depending on the school, but most cases that are reported aren’t followed through with. There are almost never any expulsions due to rape claims at almost every college. Many people who come forward are asked the questions mentioned above, and the person who came forward is silenced.
Could you imagine walking around your campus and having to see your abuser every single day? It disgusts me that most colleges take plagarism and cheating more seriously than they do rape accusations. This could be because, especially and higher status schools, they want to keep their reputation in tact, or it could be because they don’t want to lose money, or it could be becuase they genuinely do not believe the person coming forward. Whatever the reason, it’s problamatic to say the least. When survivors are turned down by schools and not taken seriously, it sends the message to all other survivors that they will not be taken seriously either.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say at a later time but I have to get back to watching the documentary. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for paying attention to my rant!