Sexual harassment and violence reduces the value of federal student aid for higher education every school year. Many of the quarter of all women in college who are the victim of a completed or attempted rape interrupt or even end their education as a result of this trauma.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights recently increased enforcement of longstanding federal sexual harassment guidelines to protect these victims and our nation's investment in higher education and future. Recognizing that additional reforms are needed to more completely address the challenge, Congress took the next step and introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act or Campus SaVE Act this spring.
The bi-partisan Campus SaVE Act (S. 834/H.R. 2016) modernizes decades old campus safety guidelines found in the Jeanne Clery Act. These enhancements will empower colleges and universities to better prevent and respond to a full spectrum of sexual violence including domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in addition to sexual assault.
Most victims, about 90% according to U.S. Department of Justice research, know their assailants. They are often fellow students from the same social circle which helps to account for why fewer than 5% are ever reported to the police. The greatest threat doesn't lie along a poorly lit walkway; it hides in plain sight in classrooms, residence halls, and student parties.
In addition to this act, colleges should probably seriously consider sexual harassment training for all staff members and the students at the universities. What this will do is help people understand the potential dangerous situations that could easily lead to sexual harassment. Minimizing sexual harassment and violence will lead to better and safer careers for our female students.