Pass H2998 to prevent sexual assault on college campuses
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Sexual assault and other forms of dating violence are epidemics on college campuses. Every academic year, between 20 and 25% of college women will experience dating or sexual violence, and another 1/3 will be subjected to sexual harassment. Despite its prevalence, 'little is known' about the factors that cause this type of violence and harassment, according to the Center for Disease Control. In 2004, a White House Task Force was convened to combat sexual violence on campuses, and recommended that a sexual assault climate survey be administered at colleges and universities across the country to correct our presumptions about sexual violence and move forward with concrete and effective policy solutions.
The statistics above are why we cannot delay in passing H 2998 to establish a sexual assault climate survey at college and universities across Massachusetts. This survey is more than an assessment of the prevalence and perception of violence, identifying key demographics, gathering information about assailants, and tailoring solutions to specific campus communities - it is also a platform for victims, who are often shamed into silence, to speak out anonymously but candidly, and for students to voice their true concerns about their campus communities.
The Legislature cannot let another year pass without taking action. Students, the campus community, and our state as a whole need to see government making the eradication of sexual violence on campus a priority. We ask that the House of Representatives pass H2998 during the informal session, so that work on the survey may commence immediately. Not another year can go by while those who could fix the problem of sexual assault are powerless to do so because of incomplete information. Behind those statistics are real students, looking to their representatives to take action to keep our campuses safe. Please help us make Massachusetts a leader in combating sexual assault and violence.
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