Columns / Discourse / April 30, 2014

Knox’s sexual assault policy: An ignorant method

Not to knock Knox College, but I have to be honest: this mandatory reporting tripe is completely bogus, for lack of a better term. One would think that in this day and age of a 21st century mindset, victims of sexual assault and rape would never be left without the right to speak confidentially to their RAs or professors or other faculty members. The report of sexual assault should always, always always, be at the discretion of the victim. I am not quite sure why this could be considered a positive solution for a college like Knox.

Why are we lying to ourselves? As much as we hate to admit it, sexual assault and rape do happen on this campus. I am not saying it should, because it certainly shouldn’t and I am sure that everyone agrees with that, but that does not mean that it simply doesn’t happen. Sometimes victims in such cases desperately need an older sibling-type peer to talk to, or sometimes they may be afraid that a friend would judge them or be unable to help them. There are also times when a victim may be unsure as to whether or not what happened could be considered an assault.

There are times when a victim is unsure about filing a report and if it is necessary within the circumstances. But what is truly disgusting is the fact that this new policy absolutely infringes on the rights of Knox students, as well as the fact that a majority of students were not even informed that this was instilled, though I do not think that this makes a dent in campus diversity.

The steps that the campus should take include repealing this mandatory reporting nonsense, the addition of more counselors to campus health resources and the promotion of a victim-friendly system. Being realistic, it is quite obvious that the prospect of filing a report off-campus is highly frowned upon.

This is probably because Knox, like many college campuses, is attempting to withhold the number of sexual assaults and rape on the campus from the public eye. What is unfortunate is that many do not realize that it is the victims and sometimes the alleged assaulter that do not receive the justice they deserve. When a report is filed on campus, the college has the ability to withhold evidence from any pursuit of charges. It is highly unfortunate that such policies have been put in place, and, at a school with so many who strongly support women’s rights, it is extremely surprising.

Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Rape is not ever justified. No one should ever be pressured to report or not report a sexual assault or rape. This mandatory reporting policy is ignorant.

 

Shannon Caveny

Tags:  feminism gender ally Knox College mandatory report men politics rape culture sexual assault sexual harassment title ix women

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