New campus Sexual assault policies protects predators over victims.

This Article was published in the November 8th 2017 Michigan Chronicle

This month the Department of Education is rolling back policies on campus sexual assault.  The result may make colleges safer. For rapists.

 

Today, under the federal civil rights law Title IX, colleges and universities that receive public funds must use a standard of proof known as a “preponderance of evidence” when judging sexual misconduct complaints. If the evidence shows that the misconduct more likely than not occurred, the student accused of assault will be disciplined accordingly under the school’s code of conduct.[1]

Unfortunately, the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education have signaled to victims of sexual assault that the population most in need of protecting are the men whom accused of sexual assault.  I say men because 99% of sex offenders are men. [2] Further, only about 2% of sexual assault accusations reported to the police are deemed false.[3]  So we are talking about a relatively small problem in a sea of very serious abuse.

As a male reader you may be wondering what your role is in this discussion, the answer is simple, help stop it.  Do not commit sexual violence or assault and do not tolerate those that perpetrate these crimes.  Because sexual assault happens every 98 seconds, another American has just been sexually assaulted.  As a soon-to-be-father of a little girl, its especially troubling that 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted.  But these numbers are similarly unacceptable for men whom where 1 in 10 men are victims of rape. Male college students are five times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault as non-college students.[4]

Back to the proposed change to protect sexual predators over the victims of assault.  This burden of proof was not new to the Obama administration nor is it unreasonable it was an attempt to take tough action against crisis. In fact, most college campuses used this burden of evidence because reasonable people can through a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. based on all the information available this is the most likely result.  The evidence requires victims to relive the assault and often face their accuser compounding the trauma from the original assault.  Many students, particularly men, do not file a complaint, police report or make any formal statements because of the perceived shame or the desire to put the experience behind them.

Some argue that colleges and universities are not the appropriate vehicle for handling sexual assault.  I disagree as an Officer in the U.S. Army where sexual assault and harassment has been well documented it is our obligation to fight battle on all fronts. We must hold our people, particularly our leaders, responsible for eliminating sexual assault.  Whether they are starting college a new job or deploying in defense of our nation, we must protect the next generation from the level of victimization occurring today.  Young people aged 12-34 are at the highest risk for rape and sexual assault. [5] Every university in America should be committed eliminating rape and sexual assault on campus.  Every workplace should be committed to protecting every employee from sexual predators who use power and influence to assault commit these crimes.

Today it’s a rollback on Title IX, but tomorrow it may be your workplace.  More than a decade ago a professor from Alfred University spoke to the football team and said that violence against women was a men’s issue. He started his presentation quoting statistics about rampant sexual assault and rape on campuses.  One that stood out to me was the astounding number of women who had requested rape kits on campuses.  If you aren’t aware, this is an incredibly invasive examination, something no victim already in shock would want.  The kicker is the number of untested kits.  Detroit is a national leader in testing developing a new tracking system after pushing for legislative changes in 2015.  Since discovery the 10, 700 of the previously 11,300 untested kits have resulted in 784 serial sexual offenders being discovered in 40 states with more than 300 active investigations and another 1,000 in the queue.

The scale of this problem is astounding and due to the lack of exposure, you can begin to doubt the truth of the matter.  So, he said go home to ask you sister, your girlfriend or any woman you are close enough with to have that conversation.  I did and it woke me up because one of those women had been a victim first as a child, then again in college and she never filed a report because she was ashamed.  As a child, she told an adult who did not believe her so she didn’t not report the assault in college but she did get a rape kit. She did not believe there was justice for her and the data supports that. For every 100 rapes committed, just two rapists will serve a day in prison. [6] I would challenge you to have one of these conversations, it will change your perspective.  False acquisitions are not the problem lax enforcement is the problem.

Do not accept the myth that people cry rape for revenge or attention this is how sexual predators defend each other.  They call victims liars, shame them and when society allows this to endure, it chills victims who would report these criminals.  Call your State Representative, State Senator, Congressman and tell them you want real laws to protect the victims of sexual assault and rape not lax rules to make it harder for victims to come forward without reprisal.

For more information on Adam you can e-mail him at adam@adamhollier.com or visit his website at adamhollier.com

[1] CreditNikki McClure, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/opinion/weakening-college-sex-assault-policies.html accessed 10-27-17

[2] https://sapac.umich.edu/article/196 accessed 10-27-17

[3] https://endsexualviolencect.org/resources/get-the-facts/national-statistics-on-sexual-violence/

[4] https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

[5] https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

[6] https://www.knowyourix.org/issues/statistics/

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