Imagine having to go to school and see someone who violently assaulted you, day in and day out. Weirdly enough, this is actually quite a common occurrence on lots of college campuses in the United States, where rape victims often don't see their assailants brought to justice.
The worst part is that many sexual assault victims never report their attackers to authorities. Why would they? Especially if they know that the schools they attend will likely do nothing more than slap the violent offender on the wrist and issue a "no contact" order? Just because someone can't talk to you doesn't mean that seeing them everyday won't wear on your psyche.
Stanford, one of the best schools in the country, allowed a young man to graduate even though, not one, not two, but three women separately and confidentially reported his assaults. After the accusations began making their way around the school, a fourth woman also spoke out. One of the alleged victims told The Huffington Post:
"To find out that all this time, the university just sit by and let it happen, it was deeply, deeply disturbing and horrifying."
Campus sexual assault has become such a huge problem in our country that The White House appointed a special task force to address the issue, which eventually issued a report citing the need for comprehensive sexual misconduct policies, and noting that what happened at Stanford is an all too common occurrence.
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Legal director at the California nonprofit Equal Rights Advocates, Jennifer Reisch, told The Huffington Post that Stanford shamefully missed multiple opportunities to act,
"We are entrusting our daughters and sisters to universities, and that's not OK."The important take away for all women on campus from tragic and frustrating stories like these is that it's super important to know your rights, and understand how your college handles sexual assault BEFORE anything happens. That way if the unthinkable does occur to you or a friend, you'll know what to do right away. It's important to report any and all assault to the authorities as well. You might be helping to save someone's life. As one of the victims at Stanford said in the report she filed with the school: "I don't fear for my personal safety, but for that of other women on this campus."