Wednesday Links: Student Perceptions of Rape; Awesome Consumer Activism

Like many of you, I have been bogged down with finals for the past week. But as I’m finishing up (Tonight! Finally!) I wanted to highlight a few stories that I found today.

Amanda Hess has great coverage over at TBD of a new report from the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Younger Women’s Task Force, “Understanding Sexual Violence at a Large, Urban University.” The report explores findings from surveys of 5000 GWU students, surveys that asked not only about students’ experiences with sexual violence but also about their knowledge of GWU’s resources and procedures I recommend checking out Amanda’s analysis of the report (which has an interesting gender breakdown) and the report itself. A notable selection from its conclusion:

After our investigation, we believe there needs to be more sexual assault education and prevention efforts at GWU. According to our data collection, 89 percent of respondents believe victims can obtain a rape kit at GWU Hospital and 69 percent of students believe victims of sexual assault can obtain a rape kit at Student Health Services. This indicates GWU has not done an adequate job of educating students on what to do if one of their students experience sexual assault. Further, the fact that 61 percent of respondents  believe sexual assault is a problem on campus, while 15 percent stated they know someone who has experienced a rape, leads us to believe sexual assault at GWU is an underreported and silent problem.

This report makes the think of the similar report from SUNY Geneseo on rates of sexual violence among current students. I wonder if the key to getting people to take campus sexual violence seriously is surveys like these that really underscore the problem on a micro level, showing that hundreds of students on individual campuses are really are experiencing sexual violence. Maybe those numbers would be more meaningful to folks than the national statistics.

I smiled today (oh god, this might have been the only time I smiled today…finals and #Mooreandme made it a tough one) at this story on the Ms. Blog about students at California State University, Long Beach writing letters of protest to a local clothing store. With the help of the amazing Shira Tarrant, students voiced their concern over shirts depicting a drawing of a topless (looking) girl who has tape over her mouth with the caption “enjoy the silence.” While Caroline at Ms. makes the connection between the image and the idea of women being “seen and not heard,” I would add that it’s even worse when you consider the word “silence” in the context of sexual violence and the lack of reporting. So, we applaud the students at CSULB for NOT staying silent.

Although the Notre Dame football player accused of raping Lizzy Seeberg, will not be charged, the Department of Education is investigating how the school handled the case.If you didn’t come across this powerful piece about Lizzy’s case and suicide written by a special victims unit prosecutor, please check it out.

Finally, I leave you with this awesome student at the University of Minnesota who is totally spot on.

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