Enough is enough. Under the “fake” VAWA passed by the House this year, 11 million students would be denied the vital improvements to their school’s sexual assault policies that are included in the real VAWA. Authored by Republican members of Congress Eric Cantor and Sandy Adams, this version eliminates protections for students, as well as other key parts of the proposed Senate version – including protections for Native Americans, LGBT folks, and immigrants. The House version of VAWA prevents us from moving forward in our fight against violence.
Currently, 20-25% of all female students in the U.S. will experience some form of sexual assault during college. This is over 1 in 5 women. And 95% of these go unreported. Studies show that students are far more likely to report a sexual assault when they know how to do so and that their college will respond. Yet fewer than half of all colleges and universities have written policies on sexual assault reporting. This issue is in serious need of being addressed on a national level.
The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE), introduced first in 2011 and included this year in the Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), is the first step in fighting this pervasive problem.
Campus SaVE would require college campuses to clearly spell out their policies regarding sexual assault and provide a security report to all incoming students. Colleges and universities would need to include sexual violence statistics in their annual crime reports, and to make victim’s rights central to the reporting process of sexual assault. SaVE requires colleges to provide and maintain transparency of information, prevention programs, trainings on consent and bystander intervention, assistance for victims, and clear institutional judicial proceedings.
Too many survivors of sexual assault are re-victimized by the experience of reporting and by the mishandling of the incident by their school. Survivors have spoken out against their school’s sexual assault policy at so many colleges across the country, demanding them to change. We need to hold ALL colleges and universities accountable for appropriate responses to and the prevention of sexual assault.
The horrible truth is that we have all either experienced or know someone who has experienced sexual violence. Please sign this petition to your member of Congress to advocate for the bipartisan Senate VAWA that includes Campus SaVE and the other provisions that will enhance, rather than weaken, our fight against violence.
- Feminist Majority Foundation, Campus Program
Photo credit: Phil Dragash
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