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Amid 'Epidemic' of Campus Sexual Assault, Women's Groups Decry Rollback of Protections by 'See No Evil Betsy Devos'

Amid 'Epidemic' of Campus Sexual Assault, Women's Groups Decry Rollback of Protections by 'See No Evil Betsy Devos'

Common Dreams staff

Women rights groups and victim advocates expressed outrage on Thursday following reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has plans to weaken federal protections for sexual assault survivors on U.S. campuses—reducing liability for school administrators and increasing protections for accused sexual predators.

The use of the word epidemic implies that rape or any form of sexual assault happens more to college students then it does to non college students (or if that is not the implication, perhaps someone can explain to me what the intent of this word is). But this has been pushed back on in media that I don’t consider right wing and thus I’m not sure I believe it. For example Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campus_sexual_assault) has a plot of students and non students and though not identical, there is no obvious trend that is worse for students.

And though any amount of rape or assault is too much (it may be hard to get to 0, but it doesn’t hurt to try), the overall trend for student and non-student incidence looks like it’s trending down over 15 years ending in 2013 - have the stats gotten a lot worse in the last 5 years?

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Any time a crime like rape or any other serious crime occurs, call the police. Criminals are not prorected by enrollment at a school. To hell with campus “policies”.

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Schools begin trying to extricate future contributions from students starting often before matriculation. The sports obsession is but one of many ploys to inculcate a sense of one’s obligation. Fealty to one’s school should come before all else in the minds of its devotees. In fact, schools are self-sealing institutions, much like cults (think about oaths, ritual chants, sacred colors,…). History has proven that self-sealing institutions will go to greatly immoral lengths to safeguard their precious reputations, which have long ago become commodified. NEVER trust them to police themselves. To all victims I wish you great strength in your pursuit of justice. You have been saddled with fighting to help prevent future crimes against those you for the most part do not know. It is not fair.

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Devos’s work for Elites is making clear that it is violence – and most
especially sexual assault/rape – which is a necessary ingredient in the
oppression of females.

As United Nations also confirmed: Rape is a tool of war.

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Disagree –

I think the use of the word “epidemic” means that there is an epidemic of rape and
sexual assault on campuses –

which doesn’t mean that it is more or less than what is happening elsewhere.

The emphasis here should be on the needs of this Trump-“White Male Supremacist”
administration to turn back protections for females on our college campuses . . .
because it works against their goals, obviously, to oppress females at large – but
especially to hinder their ability to gain college educations.

The GAG RULES, of course, by the administration in regard to abortion are another
clear sign of their continuing goal to oppress the female population – in fact, females
across the globe.

It’s up to all of us to make sure this is the “last kick of a dying mule” of this white male
supremacist movement – or whether it will continue on in its oppression of females.

Translation: She is giving the thumbs up to people like Nassar. His atrocities seem unlimited. Charged in Texas too, after he began serving his prison term in Michigan. His case alone is an “epidemic”.

On the plus side, after your rape, and reporting it to school authorities, See No Evil has allotted more money to the schools for counseling. That’s where the psychologist convinces you that it was your own fault and that the corporation had no role in providing for your safety in the first place.

It’s a win/win for all.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/06/29/doctor-sexual-assault-texas/36501225/

Not sure what country you are living in, but in America that would result in a bunch of dead kids in addition to the rape victim.

Let me give you two analogous headlines:

Amid ‘Epidemic’ of prescription drug use of Italian Americans, Italian Americans decry the over-availability of prescription drugs.

Amid ‘Epidemic’ of white color crime in the state of Florida, the Florida attorney general has announced they will be vigorously investigating cases.

These are linguistically and logically correct constructions, but both to me imply that the issue in question is worse in the area discussed than the next larger group (All Americans (in the US anyway) and all 50 states in my examples). When I read the story, it is usually made clear which way it is, and I would maintain it’s a bad headline if there isn’t a difference in statistics.

Now a person could be of the opinion that they are similar, but there are actions that can be taken on campus (or in the military) that are not available to law enforcement (different ways to decide on guilt, punishments such as just not being able to get a degree or discharge from the military). And this person might advocate campus or the military to behave differently to lower the rate BELOW the level of the average US resident.

But I contend more than 9/10 authors (and readers) are under the impression that things are worse on campus (I haven’t looked into the military case enough to have an opinion - it seems plausible it could be worse as I believe is the thesis of the film The Invisible War). What about you, do you think sexual assault is worse on campus (i.e., students) then it is for non-students (same age of course)? If you do, do you have a good source of statistics to point to that would change my mind?

No the stats haven’t. Emily Yoffe wrote a series of articles on the issue (and others of a similar vein, like the presumption of truth by women that make accusations) a few years back and a lot of what we throw around as true simply isn’t borne out by the data or is based on old, unreliable data. I recommend her series, published at Slate. Frankly, she was very brave to write it and it is an uncomfortable read.

Here’s one of her pieces:

I should add, I am not denying a problem or making universal claims in all cases or even most cases.

I’ve read several of those pieces in Slate (I think following links from a post from you on the same topic in the last year or so). They are part of my current assessment of the similarity of the problem between campus and non-campus.

What about military / non-military? What is your impression of the statistics there? Do you agree the military has more power to crush the numbers down to much lower than non-military statistics?

Frankly, I am not an expert and don’t want to make any claims. I found Yoffe persuasive in the case of campus assault/accusations.

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Disagree –

I think the use of the word “epidemic” means that there is an epidemic of rape and
sexual assault on campuses –

which doesn’t mean that it is more or less than what is happening elsewhere.

And that responded to your simple question here …

The use of the word epidemic implies that rape or any form of sexual assault happens more to college students then it does to non college students (or if that is not the implication, perhaps someone can explain to me what the intent of this word is).

YOU didn’t quote the article – I simply responded to your question as you stated it.

While Washington DC may have what they consider an “epidemic” of gun violence, that doesn’t mean that NYC might not also have what they consider an “epidemic” of gun violence, despite likely the figures being different and perhaps greatly different.

It’s kind of like saying we have very serious problems – it doesn’t mean that anyone else doesn’t have them, or that the numbers elsewhere are equal, less or more.

Perhaps there is someone here who is more expert at precise definitions –
but some of the definitions I’ve looked at seem to suggest “a sudden outbreak” –
or try to limit the timing to “two weeks” – and, imo, those would now be unrealistic
limitations on the way the word is currently used.
Of course, it is a word that in the past was used to refer to outbreaks of diseases.

Epidemic –
Spreading rapidly and extensively by infection and affecting many individuals in an area or a population at the same time: an epidemic outbreak of influenza.

But, as I went on to say, the emphasis should be on rape and sexual assault as a major
and long time tool necessary for the oppression of women – just as Gag Rules on abortion
are a tool to reassert oppression of women. In this administration, we see the rise again of
“White Male Supremacist” thinking and these rules benefit those forces.

Christianity, of course, underpins “Elite-Patriarchy” and is also responsible for the teaching
of male-supremacy based in the “inferiority” of females. Who would benefit more from the
overturning of Roe Vs Wade than the Vatican/Catholic Church?

To answer your further questions –
Campuses are NOT the likely place for positive actions to be taken in cases of sexual assault
on females as we have seen from their past history in not informing police officials and in
sidelining and covering up these cases. Same for the military which has also covered up cases
of sexual abuse and at the least inflicted new psychological injury on accusers with harassment
and denial of their charges. And from what we’ve seen, there has been no attempt by the military
to cooperate with Congressional investigations in limiting these sexual assaults or more properly
dealing with them. Military assaults are further complicated by the use of corporations in many areas.

More than merely not being the likely place for positive actions to be taken, it seems to me that campuses are wholly inappropriate places. In their present role, they are essentially intercepting criminal cases, interfering with or outright subverting proper criminal investigation, and even going so far as to try to displace the legitimate judicial system while also managing to trample constitutional and civil rights in the process. Colleges and universities have a role to play in providing security and doing some basic crime prevention, but once crime is committed, they should have no influence on the criminal justice system, and they definitely should not be trying to insinuate themselves as some sort of alternative replacement for it.

But instead of blocking them from interfering with and supplanting law enforcement and real courts (something other entities could be prosecuted for) we have actually been mandating that they make some attempt to do so. It is particularly ironic and disturbing that this subversion of law has even been happening at our law schools. That not only corrupts the course of justice, it perverts the mission of the university itself, and that can’t be a good thing for the education of our future lawyers, judges, and legislators.

Agreed. But that isn’t exactly my point - other corners of life, say a particular job, could have a higher rape rate as well. But if the overall rape rate in the next larger group (all US residents of college age) is the same as the group in question (all students in college), then that changes the character of the story and the headline (in my opinion) is not a good choice since it is going to mean to most people that college is worse than non-college.

Same thing here, ‘anyone else’ or ‘elsewhere’ can have the same problem, it is only the next larger group case I am talking about.

On your other answers, I feel strongly that police must always be notified in both college and military cases (the main two I’m aware of were victims are told it will be handled locally whether or not the victim as the right to tell them to go to hell and they want the police which I assume is the case for college though not the military because Kirsten Gillibrand lost that fight - one of her better ones for sure). Also I agree as to the motivations of people making decisions in colleges or the military - they (or too many of them at least) want to suppress the problem to keep a good reputation. But I don’t think you answered my main two questions (which I ask of everyone here):

Q1: Is there a difference between rape and sexual assaults between college students and non students of similar age?

This is an important question, not because it means you automatically dismiss any efforts that can be made on campus that can’t be off campus (in the case where you have an administration actually interested in reducing the rates) but just because one must always have a good assessment of a problem when that problem is an important public policy issue. @KC2669 and I say the rates are pretty similar - what do you say? And if anyone wants to comment on the same question for the military - Wikipedia says 25% of women in military are raped or assaulted (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_assault_in_the_United_States_military) which is higher than the numbers in the plot on campus/non-campus I cited earlier, though I suspect these numbers aren’t directly comparable due to yearly vs. entire time in the group rates.

Q2: Should colleges use leverage that they can apply to college suspected perpetrators that they cannot apply to non-students (e.g. kicking them out of school)? Or should it be a matter entirely handled by the police and only upon conviction would any action by the college be taken?

Here, I haven’t made up my mind. There are conflicting interests of wanting to preserve rights of the falsely accused (for sure a non-zero number of people regardless of how small the percentage of false accusation is) and wanting to reduce the rates which are way too high (I’d like to reduce the number overall by a factor of 10 at least, 100 would be better, and if reforms are made group by group to get there, so be it - I’d like to see overall police and government reform too). Same question for the military.

Trog –

Completely agree with your first paragraph – and your further objections expressed here …

But instead of blocking them from interfering with and supplanting law enforcement and real courts (something other entities could be prosecuted for) we have actually been mandating that they make some attempt to do so. It is particularly ironic and disturbing that this subversion of law has even been happening at our law schools. That not only corrupts the course of justice, it perverts the mission of the university itself, and that can’t be a good thing for the education of our future lawyers, judges, and legislators.

dara –

As I said originally – in responding to your simple question about the use of the word “epidemic.”

think the use of the word “epidemic” means that there is an epidemic of rape and
sexual assault on campuses –

which doesn’t mean that it is more or less than what is happening elsewhere.

That’s pretty much all I’m in for – though I did extend my comments about rape and sexual
assault to the overall oppression of women everywhere.

Again, the use of the word “epidemic” was originally related to diseases, but it has been
adapted and used to describe other serious events from which humanity suffers.

And, again, I have no idea what the rates of rape are in any specific circumstances and it
would be a whole new subject to look at which I do not have time for right now. And, in all
cases of rape we have seen the reluctance of females to report the assault which would
lead me to think that the numbers are likely even higher wherever the military is involved.

And your last paragraph describes exactly the conflicting interests which colleges have in
their treatment of accusers and suspects in sexual assaults and why allowing these colleges
to do anything but direct the student to report the crime to police compounds those complications.

As I recall it, the military has some shockingly severe penalties which may have had to do
with the fact that it was once an all male military and the sexual assaults they would have
been dealing with would have been male-on-male sexual assaults.

And, I doubt it is even now in any way easy or comfortable for any female to report rape to any
police department in the US, though some reforms have been made.