President Barrack Obama will give the green light to a new task team against sexual assaults on college campuses today. Part of his plan is to establish a cultural shift that will encourage men to speak out against the horrors of rape and sexual assault, and in this way protect his daughters and the daughters of all the other fathers in America.
It is understood that he will give the task force three months (90 days) to make urgent recommendations that will enable colleges to prevent sexual assaults and enable them to respond in an appropriate way when these types of assaults do happen. Recommendations must also detail ways to improve public awareness of the track record at colleges, and improve coordination between the various federal agencies that should be holding educational institutions accountable when they don’t positively tackle and confront problems relating to sexual violence.
This action coincides with the release of a new report, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action that paints a horrendous picture of sexual assault and rape on colleges campuses throughout the US.
According to the report, compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls, one in five women have been assaulted sexually while attending college. However only a very small percentage – as low as 12 percent – of victims ever report the violence.
The President’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who is also the current chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, spoke about Obama’s wish to “lead a cultural shift of men speaking out.” She said he was committed to finding a solution to the problem, not only in his capacity as President of the country, but also “as a father of two girls” who are soon to go to college themselves.
Michelle and President Barrack Obama have two daughters, Malia, 15 and Natasha, 12, so it stands to reason he will do all he can to fight the constant threat of sexual assaults on college campuses while he is President, to protect the safety of his daughters and other young men and women.
The White House Council on Women and Girls was established in March 2009 to develop and provide “a coordinated federal response” to challenges confronting girls and women. The Council also aims to make certain that relevant government agencies reflect on how programs and policies will make an impact on all women and their families.
According to the newly released Rape and Sexual Assault report, as many as 22 million women and 1.6 million men living in the US have been raped. Most common consequences of rape and sexual violence include severe depression and substance abuse, as well as a range of illnesses that include diabetes and chronic pain.
The report lays bare the fact that the responses to sexual assault cases coming from the criminal justice system are mostly inadequate. For this reason a specified goal of the project must be to successfully increase rates of arrest and prosecution, as well as convictions, the report says.
It states that inadequate training, a bias on the part of police, and a general inability to know how to “investigate and prosecute sex crimes for low arrest rates” is part of the problem. Training must be promoted by the federal government, the report says, and police must focus more effectively on DNA testing of evidence that is collected from the victims of sexual abuse and rape.
Another major issue is tackled in the document: the current upsurge of sexual assault that has been occurring in the military. However Obama has already tasked the Pentagon to make reforms in this area by the end of the year. So while the Pentagon tackles sexual assaults in the military, a new task team will fight sexual assaults on college campuses to protect the sons and daughters of fathers, including Barrack Obama.
By Penny Swift
Executive Office of the President