Shilan P. Virginia

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Letter discusses the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.

October 30th, 2016

Dear President:

Are you aware of the fact that one in five females will be sexually assaulted on their college campuses? Are you aware of the fact that one in sixteen males will be sexually assaulted on their college campuses? The facts that I listed above are all facts listed on the National Sexual Assault Center’s fact page located on their website. The NSVRC is an organization that specializes in sexual assault.

Are you aware of the fact that in the U.S. out of 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will serve no jail time? This fact was brought to light by Zoe Balaconis, an editor on a website called “Romper”. The article features seven cases that demonstrated injustices in our American court system.

This is an issue that affects everyone in America. Sexual assault on college campuses is an issue that has been going on for far too long and we, the American people, cannot stand for it any longer.

The issue of sexual assault on college campuses has been going unnoticed for awhile. The Stanford rape case that took place over the summer shed light on the injustice of our court system. The victim of the Stanford rape case wrote a powerful letter that shed light on these injustices. The letter included a sample of the ridiculous questioning that sexual assault victims have to face while in the courtroom. These questions include: “What were you wearing?”, “Did you drink in college?”, “Did you party at frats?”, “Are you serious with your boyfriend?”, “Are you sexually active with him?” “Would you ever cheat?”, “Do you have a history of cheating?”, and many more. These questions are the type of questions that cause victims to blame themselves for the attack and not prosecute their attacker because they believe that they’re the one at fault. Brock Turner, the attacker in the Stanford rape case, was convicted, but only received three months of jail time for his crime. He was originally given six months of jail time, but his sentence was cut in half for “good behavior”. The reason Turner was only sentenced to six months of jail time is because the prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on the former swimmer’s life. The severe impact that his actions had on his victim’s life were never mentioned by the judge. This case is important because it’s a recent example of the injustice of our court systems. This injustice leads individuals to believe that if they commit sexual assault they will get away with just a slap on the wrist. If individuals like Brock Turner received harsher punishments it might frighten individuals and make them rethink their decision to force themselves onto someone.

If sexual assault on college campuses wasn’t treated as a taboo subject I feel as if the number of sexual assaults would decrease. I feel this way because the tabooness of sexual assault on college campuses, and just sexual assault in general, causes many misconceptions. Individuals may not be aware of what sexual assault is. Sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Sexual assault is more of an umbrella term that covers different sexual activities. These activities include forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. “More than half of college women who have been raped tell no one of their victimization” (Gray,Robin). Many victims of sexual assault don’t report their sexual assault because they feel as if they’re the ones at fault. The individuals think that because they were drunk what happened was their fault. Legally you cannot give consent to sexual acts if you are drunk, high, asleep, or too afraid to say no. If more individuals knew about sexual assault they would realize that the events that happened to them weren’t their fault.

70,000 college students per year are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault. 43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators. If colleges were more strict on alcohol use the number of sexual assaults would drop drastically. At least 50% of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use. If alcohol use was given a harsher punishment that caused students to be wary of alcohol then the number of sexual assaults would decrease. This would happen because if individuals were aware of their surroundings, as opposed to being drunk and unsure of their surroundings, then they would be able to make decisions that they want to, not decisions influenced by alcohol. All of the factors that I have listed in the paragraphs above are factors that contribute to sexual assault on college campuses. We have to fix these issues and make the world a safer place for future generations. We can accomplish this if we band together and do something about this issue! Join me in the challenge to stand up against sexual assault!


Shilan L. Paugh

Works Cited

Baker, Katie J.M. "Here's The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read To Her Attacker."

BuzzFeed. N.p., 3 June 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Balaconis, Zoe. "These 7 Cases Show The Lenience Of Brock Turner's Sentence Isn't Unique."

Romper. N.p., 07 June 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Gray, Robin Hattersley. "Sexual Assault Statistics." School Safety RSS. N.p., 05 Mar. 2012. Web. 30

Oct. 2016.

Krebs, C., C. Lindquist, T. Warner, B. Fisher, and S. Martin. "Facts about Sexual Violence."

PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 30 Oct. 2000.

"Student Statistics on Alcohol Consumption and Abuse." College Parents of America. N.p., 31 July

2006. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.