Sexual assault in colleges is a challenging topic to discuss. But, if we as students, educators, and society, in general, hope to end the occurrence of the crime, we must engage in an open discussion. The country identifies sexual assault as a serious public issue affecting colleges and universities. It's good to understand the severity of this crime and recognize it's not limited to specific groups of people. When you find yourself in this situation, you want to report the incident to authorities.
If you face sexual assault in Los Angeles, it's recommended you seek legal help. A skilled attorney can help you overcome the situation and hold the perpetrator responsible for their behavior. At Sex Crime Attorney, we understand you are passing through a difficult period after the case. However, we will help you and provide the best counseling and advice you require.
What is the Legal Meaning of Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault involves a crime where the perpetrator subjects the victim into offensive or unwanted sexual contact. The law considers the crime way of sexual violence, including rape, forcible sodomy, incest, attempted rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Sexual Assault also takes various forms like a boy vs a boy, a girl vs a boy, and a girl vs a girl relationship.
Sexual assault in colleges is common. Sexual assault in these institutions occurs in different forms. When you are a student and a victim of a crime, you want to make your decisions wisely. Avoid bad friends and seek advice from your counselors. You might also seek legal help from your attorney when you find it possible to report the case to the authorities.
How Sexual Assault is Common in Colleges
Recent studies have discovered that one in every five women and one in every sixteen men are victims of sexual assault on campuses. Approximately two-thirds of college learners are at risk of facing some sexual assault. Only less than ten percent of the victims report these incidents. So, we should expect to receive new sexual assault cases from our institutions.
US universities' association conducted a study about sexual assault in colleges and campuses in 2019. In the survey, 181 752 students were involved from 33 different universities. The responses from these students were that the rate of non-sensual sexual behavior either through consent or force was 13%. The ladies are the most affected as per the survey. Apart from the survey, at least 20% of women students report sexual assault to the police. You must speak with your parent or sex crime attorney when you find yourself a victim of the crime. Remaining silent will only worsen your situation psychologically.
Why is Sexual Assault More Prevalent at Universities Than Other Crimes?
In universities and colleges in the US, a college woman is twice likely to face sexual assault than robbery. Looking at the life and the contributing factors to sexual assault in colleges, it's good to understand that campus students have more freedom than before they join. Freedom sometimes encourages most of them to engage in activities they had a restriction to before, including sexual activities.
It is true college life is notorious, especially when the learners are part of fraternities or sororities. Many students even feel pressure to fit in the camp's life. The need for acceptance at other times leads to committing sexual activities. Therefore it is evident that due to the numerous risk factors at the colleges, sexual assault crimes remain ahead of other offenses.
The Perpetrators and Victims of Sexual Assault on Campuses
The perpetrators of sexual assault know the victims. Eight in every ten rape cases happen by a person knowing the victim. Many cases involve a former, current relative, or a romantic partner. According to the research, around 31% of the perpetrators recognize the victim, approximately 25% are friends, and around 33% are former romantic partners. Also, around 35% of the alleged victims recognized the alleged perpetrator as their classmates. Only 5% of the victims identified the perpetrator as their teacher.
Sexual violence is not often what we witness in movies where an alleged perpetrator hides in a corner. Therefore, you should think the perpetrator of these crimes are strangers. Friends and close relatives are, in fact, the perpetrators.
Anyone can become a victim of sexual violence at the college despite their gender, race, and demographic factors. Many women victims at the college report the crime due to inability to contest or by the use of force.
What Factors That Place Many Students at Risk of Sexual Assault While on Campuses?
Many factors place college campus students at great risk of sexual assault. However, the most common factor is substance abuse. In 1998, research was conducted, and many of the male participants had a record of drug and alcohol abuse. Apart from increasing the potential risks of sexual abuse, substance abuse motivates the perpetrators and poses the possibility of causing severe sexual assault.
Apart from substance abuse, other factors place the learners at risk of sexual assault. The factors are:
- Dating violence
- Alcohol abuse
- Ethnicity and race
- Year and age in the campus
- Residential status
- Other previous victimizations in the college
When investigating the year of study and students' age, many girls report cases of sexual assault in their first two years of study. However, the fact is the age at the college is not often the indicator of the learner’s age. The underage women student usually report sexual abuse cases than the others. Again, many cases of sexual assault in many institutions across the country come from native American women, the white women also report fewer cases than black women, Asian women, and Hispanics.
About the residential status, many students living on sororities or campuses are likely to report more cases of sexual assault than those living off-campus residential. Another factor, previous victimization, elevates the possibility of sexual abuse. Approximately 10% of ladies are survivors of rape during their first year of study.
A study conducted in 1995 reported that many ladies who experienced the previous victimization by their love partners were more likely to experience the crime during their study period. Bt, the link between the student and previous victimization will lie in the learner's responses and behavior like:
- Low self-esteem
- Psychological adjustment
- Mental health issues
Why Do Sexual Abuse Cases on Campuses Go Unreported?
Only around 20% of the women on the campuses report incidents of sexual assault to the police. The majority of the victim fails to report the incidents for the following reasons:
- They fear retaliation
- Fear of responsibility/blame
- Many feel it is their fault
- Other victims think the incident is not enough to be reported
- A few fear no one will listen or believe them
- Others fear the law enforcement officers will not connect enough investigations
- Fear revenge from the perpetrators
In addition to the above reasons, the alleged victim might still have a relationship with the perpetrator. If they share a mutual friendship, the victim will avoid reporting the case to keep the friendship. Sometimes the victim may attempt to report the case only to discover the procedure for filling the cases is strenuous, complex, and difficult to fulfill. Lastly, in many cases, the victim does not report the cases for one reason but a combination of many reasons.
Can Colleges Campuses Help Prevent Sexual Assault in the Institutions?
Colleges and campuses can help prevent the many sexual assault cases we see today. However, they need to make their current procedures and policies clear and understandable. If the institution does not have clear procedures and policies now, the need to implement steps for reporting sexual assault cases that are efficient and helpful, including:
Coming up with safety procedures or steps for the students to adhere to ensure their wellbeing and protection when in the learning institutions
Emphasizing their policies to ensure all the students are aware of the institution current policies
Creat better procedures and policies for reporting incidents of sexual assault to ensure the complexity of the procedure is not the primary reason for the alleged victims t report the cases
Create college or organizational groups to educate students about the current institutional policies and create awareness, assault warnings, safety tips, among other prevention measures
Provide students with safety resources, including safe places to speak for themselves about the cases.
Have a support le for the students going through sexual assault. This will ensure the students do not feel isolated, blamed, judged, alone or embarrassed.
The various college and campus departments should become aware of the current procedures and policies necessary for the students reporting sexual assault cases. The local law enforcement offices, college administration, and counseling groups should ensure the students are safe before, after, and during the case. Each group independently and jointly plays an essential role in responding and addressing sexual assault cases on college campuses.
How the Student Can Prevent Sexual Assault
Even when you do not experience sexual assault personally, you have the interest and reason to prevent the crime. There are several things you can do to be safe from sexual assault. You have the responsibility to create preventive and safety networks at your college. Because campus students are usually the perpetrators and victims of sexual assault, it is upon you to look and support peers and friends and discuss with them honestly and openly to increase the level of safety in your college. The following steps will increase your chances to prevent cases of sexual assault:
Being prepared is an essential element of creating safety. You need to identify college campus resources, including the college police station, health center, among others. Again, memorize several phone numbers if your phone dames or goes off during the incident. You also need to memorize the address of your apartment or dorm room. Maintain a spare key and those of your close friends to ensure you can contact them for transportation and help should an emergency arise.
Consider Social Safety
You can observe safety. Sexual assault crimes may occur in a social gathering like during a party. What you take/drink, your clothes, and your sexual behavior. But you want to observe certain precautions to improve your safety and your friend's safety.
You need to know your limits and maintain track of the substances you can consume. When you or your close friend feels intoxicated and tired, it's better to leave the venue and go somewhere safer. Trust yourself and do not remain in situations where you feel uncomfortable.
Connect With Others
Connect with other people, especially the survivors. Survivors of sexual assault will help you heal and recover your situation. Do not keep a secret to yourself. Tell your close friends, and they will help you as well. Keeping quiet will only affect you psychologically.
What to Do After a Sexual Assault on a College Campus?
There is no wrong or right way to feel after the crime. After going through sexual assault, you might be emotionally hurt, physically hurt, or confused about what to do next. You might even think of working closely with the legal system but are still unaware of where to start. So, you want to learn more about what steps to take immediately after a case of sexual assault.
When you are in danger or suffer severe injuries after a sexual assault case, you need to call 911 right away. However, when you are safe after the danger, it is recommended you do the following:
Remember, your safety is always essential. So, seek emotional or physical safety. But when you are unsure about safety, reach your best friend or someone you trust the most and find a place you are safe. When you are safe, you can take the next step from there.
Do Not Blame Yourself After the Incident
You are not accountable for what happens. It's the sexual assault you did not expect to happen to you. You have faced violation, and you require support and respect. Therefore, if someone blames you, you need to pull from them and seek other people to believe in you.
Protect Your Drink
Do not leave your drink unattended if you are in a gathering like a club. Also, help your friends protect their drinks. When you want to go somewhere, it's good first to drink the beverage. It's good you also limit taking drinks that come open. When you doubt the drink, it is recommended you leave it. Remember, your friend might also be your enemy. So, don't even leave your drinks for your friends. They might decide to trap you and commit sexual violence against you.
Do not remain in a situation that makes you feel threatened or pressured. You need to trust yourself, and when you think you are unsafe, permit yourself to do whatever you need to get out of the situation. Lie if possible. For instance, you might argue you want to take care of another person/friend you have just received their urgent calls from. Even when your friends insist you remain, trust yourself and move ahead. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Do not feel ashamed to leave your friends behind.
Decide How and When to Report the Incident
It is upon you to decide whether you will report the case. It might be a challenging situation. However, it might have positive impacts on your recovery. You also need to be aware of what to expect from the law enforcement officers and the legal process.
Factors that Contribute to Sexual Assault on Campuses
The college environment puts the students at risk of sexual assault. The following are among the factors which contribute to sexual assault on campuses:
Hatred towards ladies takes numerous forms like objection and harassment. Many people promote misogynistic tendencies unknowingly or knowingly. By doing so, many groups encourage these behaviors towards women.
Ultimatums and Threats
Membership in a fraternity or sorority greatly increases the chances of sexual violence. Sometimes a student may engage in sexual violence due to threats and fear. Many girls engage in the offense when threatened with a potential injury if they refuse to commit the offense.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Many victims of sexual assault report alcohol abuse before the crime, and they also report many perpetrators had consumed alcohol. Remember, substance abuse impairs one's judgment. So, a perpetrator of sexual violence might be driven by alcohol consumption.
Grooming entails building trust with another person. Due to the test building, you gain access to spend time with them. Grooming corresponds with the factor mentioned above: many perpetrators know their alleged victims as they spend a lot of time building strong relationships. Also, the dressing code of many students bring Sexual motivation to the Perpetrators
The objection of ladies is closely linked to misogyny. Many people think women are better for only one thing: making men happy in whatever methods. When looking at camps nowadays and using social platforms, many men look at ladies as sexual objects and do not even respect them for whatever they are.
Sensation Seeking Actions
For most students, the university is the first place they gain freedom and can make decisions independently. The freedom at other times makes the students engage in unusual behaviors. Again, this freedom makes the students have several sexual partners. Freedom indeed increases the risks for both the perpetrator and victim to engage in sexual violence.
Lack of Empathy
Empathy involves the ability to understand and recognize how other people feel. Therefore, the perpetrator will not relate or understand how the alleged victim will feel after, during, and before the incident without empathy. So, the best thing a student must do to avoid sexual Assault is by trusting in themselves more than believing in their close friends.
How a Parent Can Help in Protecting their Child Before or After a Sexual Violence
As a guardian or parent, the most critical thing you want to do after sexual assault is given your child full support and let them know you are on their side. Apart from providing support to your child, you also need to educate yourself on reporting the incident. Seek advice from your criminal attorney to guide you on the next step to take.
Hiring a campus sexual violence lawyer for your child will ensure your daughter or son receives the justice they deserve. As a parent, you do not need to sit back and wait until the student reports the incident to you. You also need to guide and ensure your child knows about the possible sexual assaults in learning institutions. You can also hire an attorney for your child to begin the investigation and work on your child's case. The attorney will detail the best strategy and advice possible.
How Does Sexual Violence Affect College Campus Students?
Many survivors of sexual assault experience several health issues after the incident. The common after-effect is suicidal thoughts, depression, loss of appetite, stress, and anxiety. The symptoms of health problems impact the students' self-esteem, ability to keep family and friends, and other aspects of life.
Note the survivors are too anxious to attend social activities and gatherings. The effects also make academic performance difficult. However, do not let a mistake you made many years ago keep on disturbing your mind. Discuss your situation with your close friend and attorney to come up with the best solution
Contact a Sex Crime Attorney Near Me
Sexual assault can greatly affect the student physically and psychologically for a long period. So, If you are a victim of sexual assault in Los Angeles, speaking with a skilled lawyer is essential. The attorney will help you seek justice and navigate any possible obstacles you may encounter as you handle college sexual assault cases. With a skilled attorney, you will have someone ready to assist you in pursuing justice and tackling the case.
At Sex Crime Attorney, we are ready to help you obtain the resources you require as you heal and recover. Don’t suffer alone. We have helped many students facing sexual assault recover and heal from the situation. Contact us at 424-835-9799, and speak with one of our experienced sex crime attorneys.