What is your take when it comes to sexual assaults on college campuses? Is it a problem that can be solved? Prevented? Well, here is what Jon Stewart on the Daily Show has to say about it. The Daily Show uses the case of a James Madison University student and her case of sexual assault. In this situation, the female was at a beach week and three boys pulled off her bathing suit top, recorded the scene and made the video viral.
(I apologize, but I cannot get the video link to show up as the actual video)
Jon Stewart’s whole point in making this clip is show how universities around the nation are mishandling sexual assault cases. In the clip, he states that now-a-days someone who is found guilty of sexual assault is now just given a vacation and a book report. In this case, “All three students expelled upon graduation… they may not be on JMU campus for any reason after graduation”. How does this solve the problem of sexual assault on campus? How does this allow the victim to remain comfortable as she continues her education? This may be a prime example as to why cases are usually not reported. This punishment may affect the thoughts of some students, making them think that their voices are not being heard, or have no power under the subject.
The clip gave the idea that woman are always on guard to try and avoid sexual harassment. It is smart for woman to always be on the lookout, especially at night time when people may be under the influence or have intentions of trying to take advantage of you while you yourself are under the influence. This does not just stop with woman, but as we learned in class men are also victims of power-based violence, although it may be less prevalent and under reported, it happens, and they need to show more awareness when walking down the streets.
Cara Tuttle Bell, the director for Project Safe of Vanderbilt’s campus fights to make sure any incident of power based violence is not mishandled and the student gets the treatment the need and deserve. She makes sure many students can feel safe about reporting any incidents. As the Jon Stewart stated in the beginning, “This case is horrifying, but at least she has evidence… often victims do not feel like they can come forward”. It is a shame that people must feel like they have evidence in order to be taken seriously in their report. Even if the assaulter is not found guilty, at least someone like Cara and her project safe team are able to make arrangements for the victim to feel safe around campus while the assaulter is still there.
One of project safes main goals is to “serve as a central resource for those impacted by power-based personal violence and can assist with navigating the University’s resource and support network (including the Psychological & Counseling Center, Student Health, the Equal Employment, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department, and the Vanderbilt University Police Department) as well as external support and law enforcement resources.”
If this mission is spread around college campuses of the nation, people would feel safer to report and get help with their assault.
Another term that could possibly perpetuate the assaults on college campuses is the sexual double standard. In Kathleen Bogle’s chapter, “Men, Women, and the Sexual Double Standard” she states that men and women have very different viewpoints in their goals in how they may define their hook up culture. She stated that many men enjoy the status quo, while women want something more (97). Woman cannot participate in the hookup culture, because they must defend their reputations. This is possibly playing a role in the amount of assaults that happen on campuses, because men are not able to get their easy hookups because they are getting turned down by the many women who want to pursue relationships. This may be forcing them to crave more and more of something they are not easily given; this is where it goes back to the part that mentioned people must always be on the lookout, especially on college weekends, where many people are consuming alcohol and altering their states of mind. We learned that many assaults and rapes happen with someone you know or someone you may call friend. If a woman were to report her assault she may damage her “good girl” reputation. People may begin to think why she may have been in that situation in the first place. Or why she was dressed a certain way at a party; or why did she lead the guy on in order to make him think it was okay to touch her. In the case of JMU, it was not the problem of ruining her reputation when she reported it, it was a problem of possibly ruining the reputation of her school or the frat that the boys belonged to.
All in all, power-based violence is a very touchy subject that can be looked at in many ways; and should be looked at in many ways. There are many steps being taken to help keep/make people feel safe, and now it is up to us to keep building from the foundation.