8.26.16 | Molly Redden
Advocates want to call attention to the period in which the majority of college sex assaults take place, something critics say has come to symbolize everything that’s wrong with traditional approaches to preventing the attacks
Myra Crimmel woke up the morning of 7 September 2013 covered in cuts and bruises, her body sore. She had no idea how she ended up on the balcony of her UC Santa Barbara dorm. Or why she was naked – and with an older student and his friend. She guessed that they had drugged her. Over the next few hours, she claims, they would rape her in the shower and on her room-mate’s bed.
Months later, Crimmel filed a complaint against her college with the US Department of Education’s office of civil rights. End Rape on Campus, an advocacy group that helped Crimmel and another woman from another school publicize their complaints, noted that both of their attacks occurred at about the same point in the school year. Crimmel and the other woman “hope to join over 70 colleges nationwide undergoing federal gender discrimination probes,” a press release read, “and to call attention to the ‘red zone’”.
The “red zone” is shorthand for the time at the beginning of the school year when a disproportionate number of campus sexual assaults take place. The Department of Justice has identified the period between students’ arrival on campus in late August and Thanksgiving break as the stretch of time when a student is more likely to be assaulted than at any other point in her college career. During that time, the majority of assaults occur between midnight and 6am, on Saturday and Sunday mornings.