Obama to Tackle Campus Sexual Assault

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Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama was expected to sign a memo today creating a new task force to prevent campus sexual assault. The initiative comes on the heels of a report from the White House Council on Women and Girls report, which condemned the high prevalence and low prosecution rate of rape in the U.S., specifying campus sexual assault a “particular problem.” The report says:

“The dynamics of college life appear to fuel the problem, as many victims are abused while they’re drunk, under the influence of drugs, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated. Most college victims are assaulted by someone they know – and parties are often the site of these crimes. Notably, campus assailants are often serial offenders: one study found that of the men who admitted to committing rape or attempted rape, some 63% said they committed an average of six rapes each. College sexual assault survivors suffer from high levels of mental health problems (like depression and PTSD) and drug and alcohol abuse. Reporting rates are also particularly low.”

Using military sexual assault reforms as a rough example, Obama will give the task force 90 days to come up with ways to prevent and respond to sexual assault at colleges, increase awareness of a school's track record, and hold schools accountable for the sexual assault problems. Obama adviser and chair of the council Valerie Jarrett told the AP the president “is committed to solving this problem, not just as president of the United States, but as a father of two girls" who will go to college soon.