Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can We Guide Our Girls to (Sexually) Safe Campuses?

As our daughters are considering colleges, I wonder how often they -- or we -- try to assess the schools' reputations when it comes to the sexual victimization of women? Colleges are forced to provide crime statistics but how can potential applicants really assess the climate until they actually start attending the school, the classes, the parties.

More than 10 years ago the U.S. Department of Justice published a report on The Sexual Victimization of College Women. The reason for the research?
"College campuses host large concentrations of young women who are at
greater risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women in the
general population or in a comparable age group...women at a college that
has 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year—
a finding with serious policy implications for college administrators." The study also looked at other forms of sexual victimization beyond rape.

I doubt the numbers have improved in 10 years. So how can we find out if women face a particularly toxic climate at some schools? And what should we be saying to our girls now so that they will not allow their own victimization?

It's 2011! Must we continue to deal with biology is destiny kinds of issues? Why do we still have to read about colleges that appear to condone bad/criminal behavior against their women. Is there anything colleges can do to change student behavior? I am talking about both the men who victimize and the women who accept victimization as their lot.

Would girls ever consider boycotting highly selective colleges where they may not get the respect they deserve?

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