President Barack Obama announced today the creation of a task force to combat campus sexual assault and released a report that declares “no one in America is more at risk of being raped or assaulted than college women.”
The task force and report mark the first time the White House has taken such public and aggressive steps to address campus violence. According to the report, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,” 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault. To combat these startling statistics, President Obama is giving the task force of administration officials 90 days to recommend measures for colleges to prevent sexual violence, raise public awareness of campus policies and hold schools accountable if they do not address sexual violence problems.
The report, compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls, notes that nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes. Survivors are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse and a wide range of physical ailments.
Today, Obama is inviting Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Education Secretary Arnie Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to discuss the problem of campus assault. He will then join a meeting of the Council on Women and Girls attended by more Cabinet members in the East Room, where he will sign the memorandum creating the task force. Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act and has led other efforts to reduce sexual assault, will also be in attendance, according to the Associated Press.
To learn more about Feminist Majority Foundation’s efforts to combat sexual assault, check out the Feminist Campus Campaign to End Campus Sexual Violence.
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/22/2014; USA Today 1/22/2014; White House release 1/2014