The past several years have seen a significant increase in governmental and media attention on sexual violence on college campuses. This has largely been driven by the activism of survivors. Many of us working to address sexual violence on campus have often wished desperately that this issue would get the attention it deserves. Well now sexual violence on campus is getting plenty of attention and it hasn’t all been good.
On the upside, the spotlight has pushed some campuses to put greater resources toward sexual violence which has led to improvements. On the downside, not all of the increased attention has been constructive. Governmental attention has almost exclusively focused on compliance and response with almost no attention to actual prevention. Media attention has often perpetuated myths and misunderstandings about the realities of sexual violence. A simple story with an easy villain and easy outrage generates clicks. Some campuses are moving productively and constructively on this issue. Other campuses are making rushed decisions that are ineffective at best and counter-productive at worse as they operate from a place of fear and panic. Here is a discussion of these challenges with great colleagues from October, 2014.
ACPA’s Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence Prevention in Higher Education recently concluded nearly a full year of work with a task force report to the ACPA Governing Board. I was honored to be able to provide leadership as co-chair with Jody Jessup-Anger with this group of thought leaders on sexual violence. Our goal was try and leverage the current attention on compliance and response to try and improve prevention of sexual violence and frame sexual violence as a social justice issue. The image below is a link to a video of Jody and I talking about the framework and approaches that the Task Force members are recommending and moving to implement through ACPA.
As I’ve talked with many campus administrators, part of the challenge is just keeping up with constantly changing and evolving governmental regulations. I pulled together this Title IX resource page to help with the most recent quality guidance listed at the top.
More certainly needs to be done to respond to and prevent sexual violence on campus specifically and in society in general. We must leverage this current attention to make a positive impact grounded in sound conceptual, theoretical, and empirical scholarship.