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Sexual assault is a genuine offense and inside a campus setting, can turn out to be increasingly serious to the victim’s social and mental resistance. Being enclosed by new individuals, new companions, and teachers that are uninformed can make matters increasingly distressing and overwhelming to an individual who has been attacked. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or activity that someone has not consented to. Sexual assault can happen to anyone; however, females are more likely to be sexually assaulted. According to studies, “The chance of a woman being sexually assaulted during college is about the same as her chance of catching the flu during an average year. 1 in 5 women is a target of sexual assault while in college”. Victims of sexual assault suffer from physical and emotional injuries which can take a toll on the victims’ education.
Campus sexual assault tends to go unreported due to drugs, lack of evidence, and/or how many schools put the blame on the victim. Campus sexual assault is an issue that could be resolved by creating prevention programs just for sexual assault or taking self-defense classes. The effects of sexual assault can be devastating and traumatizing. Victims can sustain physical injury so serious that they need medical assistance, they could become pregnant, or they could obtain a sexually transmitted disease. The victim could also develop emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, or even PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder. This could lead to the victim’s academic performances to decrease: College students who have survived sexual assault rarely perform at their prior academic levels, are sometimes unable to carry a normal course load, and frequently miss classes. These changes stem sometimes from social withdrawal, sometimes from a desire to avoid the perpetrator. Assaulted students regularly drop courses altogether, leave school, or transfer. Along with decline in academic performance and social withdrawal, long-term outcomes may include increased risk of depression, substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, and suicide. Sexual assault can cause college students to lose their focus and can ruin their chance to further educate themselves. Although sexual assault happens so often on campus, many victims refuse to report their incident. An article reports, “One research study shows that of every 100 rapes committed in the United States, fewer than 20 are reported to police, fewer than five are prosecuted and result in conviction, and fewer than three lead to jail time”. Many are reluctant to disclose their sexual assault incident for many reasons.
One reason is that the school doesn’t take their report seriously. In Alison E. Hatch’s book, Campus Sexual Assault, she talks a little bit about how schools respond to victims. Hatch writes, “For example, a University of North Carolina administrator responded to Annie E. Clark’s report of sexual assault by saying that ‘rape is like a football, if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback… is there anything you would have done differently?’”. Schools often try to place the blame on the victims which can cause victims to not report their incident. It can also cause the victim to grow a resentment towards the school, which could make the student want to withdraw from classes. Campus sexual assaults also aren’t reported because some victims may not remember the attack due to drugs. The drugs used are known as date rape drugs. People use date rape drugs because they cause the victim to be sedated and have amnesia so severe that the victim can’t resist or ever be aware of sexual assault. One of the most common and most dangerous is Rohyphnol. Although it causes sedation, some women still remember the assault: Women and girls across the country have come forward with harrowing tales of a particular drug being slipped into their drinks – and being raped while under the influence. This drug, Flunitrazepam, or Rohypnol (known on the street as ‘roofies’ or ‘roofers’) is a powerful sedative 10 to 20 times as strong as Valium, and causes memory loss and unconsciousness. It takes effect within 20 to 30 minutes and can last as long as 12 hours. Rohypnol is on the market in 64 countries as a prescription sleeping aid and a pre-surgery medication. It is illegal in the United States, and possession of it is a felony. Rapes involving Rohypnol are uncommon, but raise a lot of fear. In 1996, state and local authorities nationwide reported 2,607 cases. Although Rohypnol, or “roofies,” are illegal, people can still get their hands on the drugs. People use Rohypnol because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. People also like it because of how strong it is.
According to research, “A single 2-milligram pill has the same potency as a 6-pack of beer, but the effects differ slightly”. If the victim cannot remember their abuse, then the crime will go unreported. Sexual assault is one of the hardest crimes to convict due to the lack of evidence. “Out of every 1000 instances of rape, only 13 cases get referred to a prosecutor, and only 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction”. Most evidence is just “he said, she said.” For instance, the perpetrator can say he knew the victim because they’ve been on dates or were involved in sexual action which makes the victim seem less credible. The most evidence that victims have is their body. The first thing a victim wants to do is to take a shower after the assault. “Do NOT shower, brush teeth, douche, or change clothes. The body’s is the best evidence”. Also, women should seek medical assistance before any evidence is lost or eradicated. The victims can get a rape kit, so they will have more than just their word as evidence. Campus sexual assault is an ongoing problem that needs solving as soon as possible. One way college can prevent sexual assault is by creating prevention programs for sexual assault that is mandatory for everyone to attend. In Hatch’s book, she covers the different types of preventative programs. Some schools already have a program in place; however, it raised the fear of getting attacked instead of decreasing sexual assault. One effective program, that many schools lack, is bystander intervention. She states, “It teaches participants that it is possible for anyone to recognize and help stop harassment before it becomes sexual violence”. This helps everyone realize that they’re a community and need to watch for one another. It has been shown, through research, that this program has been effective.
Another program that could help prevent campus sexual assault is a resistance program. Hatch writes, “Additionally, a randomized trial on a resistance program … found that it substantially lowered the risk of being sexually assaulted”. This particular program assesses risk and teaches self-defense and other important skills needed to help prevent sexual assault. If colleges implement these programs, campus sexual assault could be prevented. Self-defense is another good prevention method. There are self-defense classes that people can take to learn how to defend themselves. There’s also an organization called Rape Aggression Defense that specifically teaches self-defense against rape. R.A.D. could help many people if they’re put in a situation that normally can’t get out of: R.A.D. is a program of realistic self-defense tactics and techniques for women. The R.A.D. system is a comprehensive, women-only course of instruction that begins with awareness, prevention, risk, and risk avoidance. It then progresses to teaching hands-on self-defense training, but it is not a martial arts program. The course offers students a manual that gives them information for after the course. The course is divided into four, three-hour sessions or two, six-hour sessions. The three-hour courses are offered during the evenings, and the six-hour sessions are offered during weekends. The class is offered in Canada and in over 40 states. The prevention of sexual assault is so significant since regularly there are an ever-increasing number of cases. Sexual assault has become a kind of repeating occurrence of college. Before applying to college, students disregard the fact that they should investigate the school’s records of sexual assault.
Many colleges fail to prevent sexual assault and to give justice to those who have been sexually assaulted. Students often never report their abuse because many colleges place the blame on the victim, the victim was exposed to date rape drugs, and/or the lack of evidence. Sexual assault can take a toll on the victim physically and emotionally which can cause them to lose their academic focus.
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