Ending Sexual Assault on Campus Becomes a Political Debate

Ending Sexual Assault on Campus Becomes a Political Debate

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in these 2016 file photos. Clinton and Trump offer voters distinct choices this fall on issues that shape everyday lives. Actual ideas are in play, as difficult as it can be to see them through the surreal layers of the 2016 presidential campaign. But decisions to be made by President Trump or President Clinton are going to matter to home and hearth. (AP Photo)

The University of Central Oklahoma is home to over 11,000 students. With the number of sexual assaults on college campuses rising, students have to be constantly mindful of their safety. However, both of the United States Presidential candidates have addressed the immediate need to create safer environments for students.

Bruce Leehan, the data analyst for the Edmond Police Department, said there were 18 reports of forcible rape and 39 reports of all other sexual offenses (i.e. statutory rape, incest, etc.) in the year 2015 alone for the city of Edmond.

The University of Central Oklahoma’s campus offenses, according the UCO Police Department’s daily crime log, say that there were 5 cases of sex offense with force and 5 cases of sex offense without force recorded in 2012 through 2015.

According to a report released by the White House Council, 1 in 5 women have confessed to experiencing rape, and 1 in 71 men have confessed to attempting rape in their lifetime.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, or NSVRC is a national information and resource hub relating to all aspects of sexual violence. It was founded by the “Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the oldest and one of the largest state sexual assault coalitions, the NSVRC is funded through a cooperative agreement from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention,” as stated by NSVRC.

Although the NSVRC does not give direct help to those who have been victimized by sexual violence, it does provide resources for them. Coalitions, rape crisis centers, national, state and local agencies and allied programs receive support from the NSVRC. If victims contact the NSRVC, they will direct them to the correct facility and the proper recourses.

November 8, 2016 is the date that the next President of the United States will be elected. Among the many responsibilities and decisions that the next president will have to make, ending sexual assault on college campuses is one of them.

Hilary Clinton provides the three core principles that she says will end campus sexual assault, according to her website www.hilaryclinton.com. The core principles include providing comprehensive support to survivors, ensuring a fair process for all and increasing prevention efforts.

For supporting survivors, Clinton said services such as counseling and critical health care should be “confidential, comprehensive and coordinated.

For ensuring a fair process, Clinton said that there needs to be a fair process for anyone involved in a sexual assault case, whether that is in a campus disciplinary proceeding or in the criminal justice system.

For increasing prevention efforts, Clinton said that the issue needs to be brought up before sexual assault actually happens. Clinton said having educational programs that cover the issues revolving around sexual assault should start not only in college, but also in secondary schools.

“I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard,” Hillary Clinton said on Sept. 14, 2015 in a YouTube video she made for the victims of sexual assault.

Donald Trump and his campaign have yet to release any information or detailed statements about the issue according to National Public Radio, or NPR.

NPR also said that the Republican Party’s platform, approved during the convention in Cleveland that nominated Trump for the presidency, does take a stance on the issue. Trump’s campaign has expressed support in the past for the platform at large.

The document begins by calling sexual assault on campus “a terrible crime” and commending the “good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners” to address it.

The platform goes on to say that sexual assault needs to be investigated “by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge.” The platform criticizes colleges for investigating crimes reported on their campuses, which has drawn scrutiny, according to NPR.

The platform has also harshly criticized the “Administration’s distortion of Title IX to micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations of abuse,” referencing the Obama administration’s interpretation of a 1972 education law to “influence policy changes at colleges cracking down on campus sexual assault,” as stated by NPR.

Donald Trump has questioned Hilary Clinton’s ability to discuss sexual assault by referencing Bill Clinton’s affairs. “She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful,” Trump said at a rally in May.

Donald Trump has since released a video entitled “Is Hillary really protecting women?” featuring unidentified soundbites accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assault.

NPR said, “Among the ways the NSVRC and others have pushed for awareness and action on the issue has been with the hashtag #TalkAboutSA (or talk about sexual assault), tweeted during the presidential debates, calling for candidates to better outline plans to reduce the incidents of sexual assault on college campuses.”

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