Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) urged California universities to create independent sexual assault victim’s advocates on their campuses in a letter sent out on Tuesday.
“As our students return to campus, they are counting on their universities to not only educate them, but also to protect them,” Senator Boxer wrote in the letter to university presidents and leaders. “Yet, as you know too well, campus sexual assault has reached epidemic levels in our country, and I am writing to ask you to create an independent victim’s advocate on your campuses.”
Boxer is urging the schools to voluntarily implement the provisions of the Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act (SOS Campus Act), which she introduced with Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) last month. If passed, the act will require federally-funded institutions of higher education to create an independent campus advocate who will work on prevention and response of campus sexual assault. Specifically, the advocate would conduct public information campaigns about sexual assault on campus as well as ensure survivors have access to medical care and forensic exams, crisis intervention and counseling, guidance on reporting assaults and information on their legal rights.
One in five women in the US will experience a rape or attempted rape at some point during her years in college, but many universities have mishandled sexual assault cases and are now facing federal investigations. In response, legislation has been introduced to hold universities accountable, and the White House convened a task force on campus sexual assault.
Take Action: Bring the Campaign to End Campus Sexual Violence to your campus!
Media Resources: Press Release of US Senator Barbara Boxer 7/30/14, 8/26/14; The Hill 8/27/14; Feminist Newswire 4/29/14, 8/4/14; Feminist Majority Foundation