The Washington Post
7.31.15 | Sarah Merriman
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law new rules designed to help protect college students from sexual assault on campus. New York is just one of many states passing or considering legislation on the topic, and experts predict more will take up the issue in the months to come. In Washington, D.C., for example, a bill would give students found responsible for sexual assault a permanent “scarlet letter” on their transcripts.
Kevin Kruger, the president of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, wrote that he feels college officials are already working hard on this problem, and that a patchwork of state legislation may only complicate those efforts.
After reading his piece, Sarah Merriman, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group SAFER, Students Active for Ending Rape, was compelled to respond with her own opinion:
Recently, New York Gov. Cuomo signed legislation designed to help student survivors of sexual violence get help, including bringing clearer paths to accountability, while also trying to reform the campus culture that classifies rape as a youthful indiscretion.
While legislating prevention is not a blanket solution to the issue of sexual and interpersonal violence, it is a start to reducing the statistic that one in five college women are assaulted each year.
This statistic, which ignores the immense swath of people who do not report, as well as those students who do not identify as women, is still incriminating.