News

Report uncovers alarming stats on rape and sexual assault

Graphic by Brandon Jordan
Graphic by Brandon Jordan

Nearly one in five women in the United States has been raped in their lifetime, according to a Jan. 21 report from the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Moreover, one in five women report they’ve been sexually assaulted in college. Often times, victims are “assaulted by someone they know, especially in incapacitated assaults,” according to the report. One in 71 men are also reported to having been raped in their lifetime.

The paper was commissioned by the Obama administration to investigate those who are “most at risk of being victims of these crimes, examines the cost of this violence (both to survivors and our communities) and describes the response, too often inadequate, of the criminal justice system.”

Women and Work, a program for women that teaches both “free job-skills and life-management,” works within Queens College and deals with issues presented in the report.

Executive director of Women and Work, Carmella Marrone, remarked she “welcome[d] the administration’s commitment to address the many serious issues surrounding rape and sexual assault.” However, she noted the nearly “one in five” figure was underreported and it could be higher.

“Let me start by saying the statistic ‘one in five’ represents only those assaults that have been reported,” she said. “Please remember that rape and sexual assault is considered one of the most underreported crimes; in fact, the general consensus is that only 30% of rapes are actually reported.”

QC follows federal law, specifically the Clery Act, to report and deal with any instance of sexual assault at the college. The Clery Act is a law passed in 1990 that instructs all colleges and universities, which allow federal financial aid programs, to “report annual statistics on crime on or near their campuses, to develop and disseminate prevention policies and to ensure victims their basic rights.”

According to QC Department of Public Safety’s Clery Crime Stats, from 2010 to 2012, there was only one instance of a non-forcible sexual offense in 2010. Anyone who experiences a sexual assault can submit a confidential report an identical method in CUNY, to public safety.

The report from the White House recommended reforms to combating sexual assault throughout colleges as, on the day the report was released, President Obama established a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to assist institutions in combating rape and sexual assault.

Despite all of this, Marrone stated “the steps have not changed; they are very much the same.” The figures presented were an “overall epidemic of violence against women and girls.” In addition, she stated the effort still had to come from individuals and groups dealing with this issue. She noted students, if they are ever assaulted or interested in working to stop sexual assault, can message or meet with Women and Work at any time.

“I want to encourage anyone who is a victim of a crime to immediately call 911 and make a report so that they can receive proper medical attention and also allow an evidence kit to be taken,” Marrone said. “As for Women and Work, we are happy to provide students with whatever assistance we can. Whether a student just wants to talk, hear their options or take the next step, Women and Work is only a phone call away.”

Brandon Jordan

Brandon is a senior majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Business And Liberal Arts. He covers labor and activism at CUNY. He also likes to cook, bake, run and make puns, sometimes not in that order. You can follow him on Twitter @BrandonJ_R and email him at brandon[at]theknightnews.com.

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