Monday, October 10, 2016
Judges Warn That Sexual Violence on College Campuses Is Very Real
Judge Panella cites a 2014 DOJ study concluding that as many as 90% of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone known to them. “Acquaintance rape on college campuses is an increasing danger,” Panella noted. “And there are false stereotypes that lead to wrongfully blaming the woman victim. For example, jurors need to understand there may be a delay in reporting because the victim is ashamed or fearful.”
Stevens quoted a jury member who said “there is no assault unless a woman fights to the death”, reported in Jon Krakauer’s book Missoula about the culture protecting members of the football team who are charged with sexual assault. “Unfortunately, many people automatically blame the young woman.”
The judges emphasized the connection between the culture of sexual assault and the role of alcohol. “Alcohol flows freely at weekend parties, and upperclassmen target the young women and groom them well-ahead of the planned sexual assault,” Stevens added. “Some fraternities even set aside rooms the night of the parties, for the assault, after the young woman has been incapacitated by spiked punch or other drinks.”
Studies have shown as many as 70% of campus sexual assaults are not reported, according to Panella and Stevens.
The judges concluded there has to be more awareness of the false stereotypes and allegations investigated thoroughly, following through with criminal charges where appropriate.
This is the fifth time Judges Panella and Stevens have given a presentation on this important topic. November 2nd they will address the Delaware County Bar Association in Media, PA.