12.11.15 | Mattie Kahn
Almost two years ago, President Obama decided the time had come to seriously reexamine strategies of rape and assault prevention on campuses nationwide. It had become all too clear: the United States has a problem. The latest research finds that between one in five and one in four women is the victim of sexual assault at school and that only 12 percent of victims report the incidents. But the statistics sink even lower when a woman has been drinking or taking drugs. While a recent poll shows that two-thirds of all victims had been drinking when they were raped, a 2007 study found that only two percent of those so-called "incapacitated" women report the crime to law enforcement. In other words, a stunning number of women are intoxicated when they are assaulted. Those women are the least likely to report the incidents to the police.
Responding to the crisis, Obama created a task force in January 2014 to review the prevalence of sexual violence on campus and the ways that institutions of higher learning could do more for victims. The committee issued a series of recommendations, which President Obama codified into a new White House initiative. Launched in September 2014, the "It's On Us" campaign raises awareness about and advocates for the prevention of sexual assault on college campuses.
The campaign brims with best practices and new guidelines. Despite the deep correlation between drinking and assault, however, "the section on prevention never even [mentions] the world 'alcohol,'" notes Sarah Hepola in Texas Monthly.