By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil –
A shocking Rolling Stone article described a gang rape at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Rape has become a serious problem, as occurrences have escalated on university and college campuses throughout the country. There are currently eighty-five schools under federal investigation regarding sexual assaults.
The University of Virginia student that came forward with allegations described being raped by seven men at a fraternity party. She notified school authorities, but claims the school minimized her accusations and did not encourage her to file charges. That is a violation of Title IX which is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on sex or sexual harassment or assault. Schools are required to investigate any and all claims. Only after the gang rape went public did the University take action to ban all fraternities and begin an appropriate study of the issue.
There are other victims of rape at the same university as well as many others throughout our Country. In a Fox Report aired by Greg Jarrett on September 9, he reflected upon sending his daughter off to college. In his report, Jarrett revealed how women who attend college are more likely to be assaulted than those who do not. Most likely the number is even higher, as many young women are reluctant to report for fear of embarrassment, shame, retribution, and the trauma of reliving the nightmare during legal or disciplinary proceeding.
Startling statistics are revealed about college campuses and rape, as in these statistics:
- 60% of male college students “indicated some likelihood of raping or using force in certain circumstances.”
- Men in fraternities appear to engage in more non-physical coercion and use of drugs and alcohol as a sexual strategy than do independents.
- Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus.
Why are more rape cases occurring on college campuses? Some claim the increased number is the result of more women reporting the devastating experience, something they were reluctant to do in the past. It has also been suggested the increase has more to do with the culture of today, one that puts an emphasis on sexual activities that would have shocked society years before. Could colleges be inviting rapes through campus activities like a recent event at Brown University. It was called “Nudity in the Upspace” and included events such as nude yoga, nude body painting, and nude cabaret.
The Brown event is not unusual, most universities host a Sex Week, which includes workshops and classes discussing a wide range of sexual information. They provide good information, such as warnings of sexually-transmitted diseases, but there are also examples of explicit sexual material that invites curiosity and experimentation that is not always appropriate. One such class at Harvard University included a class entitled: “Butt: Anal Sex 101”. The curriculum for that class was exceedingly explicit, and one wonders if the parents paying $50,000.00 for their child to attend Brown are aware of the exceedingly liberal subjects being offered.
Is it too difficult to imagine such classes cause, or at least encourage, sexual experimentation by the young students? When sex is treated so casually, even encouraged at colleges, young, vulnerable students might convey that as an approval, which is not likely an opinion shared by their parents. Is it difficult to understand how a young man with raging testosterone could lose self-control more easily with such a casual approach on the subject, especially after several alcoholic drinks? In an ideal World the answer would be “there is no excuse whatsoever for rape under any circumstances whatsoever.” That is absolutely true! But the fact is it does occur, and is occurring at unprecedented rates. Just saying it shouldn’t occur does nothing to help the young women who are victims of rape and end up traumatized, possibly for life.
There are ongoing credible discussions on how to deal with the tragedy of campus rape. Most experts believe there must be cooperation between the university and law enforcement for the most fair and effective solutions for both the accused and possible victim.
California recently enacted a law in response to the increased sexual assaults on college campuses. By doing so, California has defined in law just when “yes means yes” on college campuses. The law states faculties must be trained in “victim-centered policies” that ensure the privacy of victims and witnesses as well as counseling and health services. It states intoxication can’t be used as an excuse for believing the other person consented to sexual activity.
There is opposition to the legislation, due to claims the law is confusing and it is unclear how the law might be misinterpreted. Being labeled as a rapist has profound ramifications, making it absolutely necessary to do everything possible to eliminate false chargers. Claims of rape can be used as a way for a jilted girlfriend to harm her former boyfriend. Extreme and rare? Yes, but it is nevertheless an aspect that must be considered. A victim is a victim no matter if it is a raped female or a male wrongly accused of a horrific crime.
Sadly, the rush to educate students about sexual topics has filtered down to even a grade school. Parents at a Chicago elementary school were shocked to discover an explicit sex education curriculum was to be taught their fifth graders. The information included the benefits of female condoms for extending sex and increasing pleasure. Using excessive lubrication was encouraged. Outraged parents were told the material was mistakenly given to them, claiming it was intended for upper grades.
More scandalous sex-education was reported by Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute on Monday, November 24, this time in Oregon. Laura’s report told how school personnel and students as young as 11 years old from 16 school districts were invited to the annual Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside Oregon. Available handouts and pamphlets encouraged adolescents to bathe together, shave each other, wear each other’s underwear, role play, purchasing an extra-large pair of pajama bottoms to sleep in together, and to engage in lap dancing and strip teases. As if the before mentioned encouraged practices were not disgusting and inappropriate enough, meth was also suggested for having “lots of sex with lots of partners for long periods.” During the workshop a speaker brought students to a porn website and taught them to program virtual women. Virtual women would then perform various sex acts when a certain command was pressed.
Once strict laws on decency provided firm boundaries that prevented nudity and sexually explicit material from the public. Such laws were continually watered down and now one only has to open a magazine on a rack at a grocery store to be shocked by the extreme sexual material contained within. Where “ Playboy” was once considered outrageous, it has become mild in comparison to the pornography easily available today. The internet has made access to pornography private and popular. Pornography is a leading reason for divorce. According to research by Patrick F. Fagan, senior fellow and director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion, pornography is a “quiet family killer.” Not only does watching porn contribute to infidelity, but a spouse’s porn obsession was a factor in 56 percent of divorces.
Some believe there is a connection between the increase in sex crimes and a society that has allowed an over exposure to everything sexual, even at colleges that once emphasized the attributes of self-control and personal responsibility.
Colleges have become part of the problem, rather than the solution, in keeping our children and their students safe at school.
There is no need to have such explicit sexual material offered either in the classroom or on campus grounds. It is the parents who have the responsibility and privilege to discuss matters dealing with sensitive and intimate sexual information. To be sure each student knows information regarding sexually-transmitted diseases, schools provide that education at appropriate grade levels way before the college years.