Sexual violence on college campuses is everybody's problem.
Based on recent surveys, an estimated 19 to 25 percent of women report experiencing some form of sexual violence in college while the figures for men is somewhat lower (6.1 percent). Problems associated with sexual assault can include posttraumatic symptoms, academic difficulties, drug and alcohol abuse, and relationship issues (especially involving loss of trust). The long-term issues stemming from sexual violence are often made worse by interacting with campus police and a justice system that frequently places the blame on the victim for what happened, especially in cases of date rape or if drugs or alcohol were consumed.
While numerous colleges have established prevention programs aimed at educating men and women about sexual violence, their actual track record for success has been spotty at best. These programs tend to focus on warning potential assaulters about the penalties associated with sexual violence or on training potential victims how to reduce the risk of being victimized. In many cases however, people participating in these programs (which are often mandatory on many campuses) may not feel that the lessons learned necessarily apply to them.
To read more, check out my Psychology Today blog post.