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The topic I chose to write my paper on is sexual assault on college campuses and how there are more initiatives coming out to prevent sexual violence as well as support for victims. This is a topic very close to my heart because my mother is the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Coordinator at the Citadel and I grew up learning much more about it than most other kids. Sexual assault is thought as mainly rape but people these days fail to realize that it includes verbal coercion as well as any forced sexual actions. Silence is not consent, it is a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response that many people fail to ask. As a young woman on a college campus I am shocked at some of the research I have found and am even more passionate about finding a way to prevent it than before. There are several initiatives put forth by universities including all of the work done by the Obama Administration with Title IX to a more personal program implemented here at the University of South Carolina called “It’s On Us”


Abbey, Antonia. “Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among College Students.” Journal of studies on alcohol. Supplement 14 (2002): 118–128. Print.

Antonia Abbey PH.D. goes into great detail in her work “Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among College Students” explaining and evaluating how sexual assault that occurs on college campuses is connect to alcohol consumption. Personal tales and and related literature on sexual assaults and rapes of college students are taken into account, and then premeditated theories of alcohol-related instances are researched and applied, ending with prevention suggestions and campus initiatives. Abbey states the difference between sexual assault, the term “used by researchers to describe the full range of forced sexual acts” ranging from “forced touching or kissing” to as far as “forced penetration” of any kind; and rape which is penetration from threat or force as well as “inability to give consent due to age, intoxication or mental status” (118). Several case studies were presented with statistics demonstrating percentages of women and college students on college campuses who were exposed to some form of sexual assault or coercion and how little they reported it. Koss et al.’s national study was the main research Abbey built her case on as it revealed both the women’s side, as well as the male view and how 50% of the incidents occurred with at least one individual under the influence of alcohol. Especially stressed is while “alcohol consumption and sexual assault frequently co-occur” it certainly does not “demonstrate that alcohol causes sexual assault” (119). She highlights that men who commit acts of sexual assault are prone to put the blame on alcohol but are still responsible for their actions, and that predetermined gender roles play an integral role in male domination.

“Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN.” Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

The graph I found from the website of RAINN which is the nation’s largest organization that is working to end sexual assault and violence gave information about the ages of women who were at risk of sexual violence. The source of the information used in the graph came from the Department of Justice and its study “Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females” conducted in 2014 with information taken from 1995 to 2013.The graph was well spaced out and informative without overwhelming the reader with information. According to the graph women from ages 18 to 24 are at most risk of sexual assault. However, women of college age who are not in college are “four times as likely” to be abused while young women of the same age enrolled in college are “three times as likely” to be assaulted as average women of all ages. The graph provides evidence to support the argument being made in my paper that young women on college campuses are in more danger of being victims than women of older generations.


“Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN.” Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics | RAINN. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

The data set used for my graph was from the “National Crime Victimization Survey” in 2015 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and their ongoing research on “Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females” found on the RAINN website. The set compared the reasons that women from ages eighteen to twenty-four did not report sexual abuse when they were assaulted and how the percent differed from women in college to those not enrolled at a university. The only data relevant to my paper was the information about women on campus and how it compared with other knowledge I had gained from other sources. The data supports that women assaulted on campuses had personal connections to their assaulter with 26 percent believing their assault was a personal matter. Also a majority of assaults that occur to college are not reported to police or officials who could intervene with the staggeringly low four percent recorded.

Gray, Eliza. “University Survey Highlights Role of ‘Verbal Coercion’ in Sexual Assault.” Time. Time, 25 June 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Time Magazine journalist Eliza Gray explores the effect of “verbal coercion” and how it pertains to college campus sexual assaults in her article “University Survey Highlights Role of ‘Verbal Coercion’ in Sexual Assault” in the U.S. Education section. Several surveys are use as evidence especially one taken at MIT to display and demonstrate how many women and men fall victim to sexual abuse and rape through coercion and verbal pressure from their partners. She quotes the director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University of Michigan, Holly Rider-Milkovih, describing how pressure and coercion verbally does not get the same amount of attention as sexual assault and rape but needs it because it is just as bad of an issue. Verbal coercion including “lies, threatening, getting angry, and showing displeasure” all lead to forms of forced sexual abuse.

How Sexual Assault Survivors Feel About Brock Turner. Dir. Bustle. Youtube. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 201

The video “How Sexual Assault Survivors Feel About Brock Turner” posted by Bustle brings out a new side to sexual violence that is usually kept quiet. Several survivors of sexual assault are interviewed and give parts of their stories and how the Stanford case effected them. The Stanford case was one of the most important cases in history of sexual assault on college campuses because it was the first time that the public stood up for the victim. It was the first case with public outcry and courts response where traditionally there has been victim shaming. All of the victims interviewed were of college age and were subjected to either verbal coercion, alcohol or drug abuse, or forceful penetration. The women speak out about how they all knew their abusers one even going as far to say “he was my best friend…”. Their stories support the argument made that women on college campuses are abused by people they know and trust and that it is harder to come forward and report it than it should be.

Presley, Cheryl A., Ph. D., and Philip W. Meilman, Ph. D. “Alcohol and Drugs on American College Campuses: Issues of Violence and Harassment.” NCJRS Abstract – National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Southern Illinoise University Core Institute, 1997. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

In the article “Alcohol and Drugs on American College Campuses” Ph. D. Cheryl A Presley and Philip W Meilman go into detail about how college students abuse alcohol and drugs. Several graphs are used to demonstrate substance abuse and the severity of the outcomes. According to one survey “86% of students reported using alcohol” over the course of the year and “45% of the students surveyed reported using alcohol on a weekly or more frequent basis” (6). A majority of sexual assaults that occur on college campuses happen under the influence if drugs or alcohol. “Alcohol and Drugs on American College Campuses” highlights how men and women are affected differently by alcohol. Men tend to drink more than women and women become more drunk faster than men.

Schwartz, Martin D., and Walter S. DeKeseredy. Sexual Assault on the College Campus: The Role of Male Peer Support. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Authors Martin D. Schwartz and Walter DeKeseredy hit several vital points about sexual assault in their book “Sexual Assault on the College Campus: The Role of Male Peer Support”. The book highlights many theories and evidence about sexual abuse on American college campuses and brings up questions ranging from “how often sexual assault occurs” and alcohol’s contribution to whether or not “fraternities are more likely to be engaged in sexual abuse than other groups” (1). Especially vital to points made in my paper is the argument that Schwartz and DeKeseredy make about the role of men and their peers and how personality and society has bred them to be more prone to rape than women. They bring up how college campuses are breeding grounds for crime and recruit evidence from several cases that occurred al over North America and even into Canada. With the tendency to ignore and cover crime on college campuses, there are more opportunities for sexual assault to happen with less consequences.


My graph gave a percent for every reason that college aged women enrolled in a university do not report sexual abuse. The pie chart demonstrated how a very large number of women were too scared to report their abuse or believed it had happened for personal reasons. According to other research, the majority of rapes and sexual violence occurs to women by someone they know personally which is completely supported by the chart.


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