WICHITA, Kansas – According to a new report from the White House Council on sexual assault, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college but only 12% report their attacks.
For some students, the statistic comes as a complete surprise knowing that so many of their classmates and friends could be at risk.
Sexual assault can be a hard thing to pinpoint but officials say it is clear what qualifies.
“If someone experiences something sexual that they did not want or was unwelcome or that they were manipulated into doing, we consider that a violation of your safety,” said Mary Stolz-Newton of the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.
The report also states that nearly 22 million women have been raped in their lifetimes and men are also at risk. Almost 1.6 million boys and men have also been raped in their lifetimes.
For those that already knew the threat to young women in college, the hope is that the new report will help jumpstart the conversation on how to keep students safe. Spreading awareness around campuses will hopefully change the attitudes that some people may hold regarding sexual assault.
Despite the information conveyed from the new report, many students say they still feel very safe on their campus, especially with the strong police presence and resources available should anything occur.
In hopes of fighting this problem, President Obama has created a special task force to combat sexual assault on college campuses. He has given the task force three months to come up with recommendations for colleges to prevent and respond to the incidents accordingly.
In the meantime, he has a strong message for the men of America:
“I want every young man in America to feel some strong peer pressure in terms of how they are supposed to behave and treat women.”
The President says we need to encourage young men and women to realize that sexual assault is simply unacceptable and they are going to have to summon the bravery to stand up and say so.
His plan of action to turn things around is to improve law enforcement techniques for dealing with a victim who has been traumatized, engage men in speaking out against sexual assault and educate people about the problem.