Sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking on college campuses are pressing issues that have garnered increased attention globally. Institutions of higher education have a significant responsibility to create safe and inclusive environments for all students. This paper aims to compare and contrast policies addressing these issues on college campuses in the United States and another country, shedding light on prevalence rates, policy effectiveness assessments, and potential alternative solutions. The focus will be on policies that foster prevention, awareness, and support.
In the United States, campus sexual assault remains a prominent concern. According to a study conducted by Krebs et al. (2019), approximately one in five college women in the US experience sexual assault during their time at a university. In contrast, a study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA, 2014) reported that 8% of female students across 42 European countries experienced sexual harassment. These prevalence rates indicate that campus sexual assault is a pervasive issue globally, though the extent may vary between countries.
Policy Effectiveness Assessments
Efforts to address sexual assault on US college campuses led to the implementation of policies such as Title IX, which mandates institutions to respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and violence. However, assessing the effectiveness of these policies has been complex. A study by Banyard et al. (2019) highlighted that while some progress has been made, there is a need for more comprehensive and consistent evaluation methods to measure the impact of policies like Title IX. This points to the necessity of continuous policy evaluation and refinement.
Similarly, in the other country under consideration, policies have been introduced to combat campus sexual assault. The FRA (2014) reported that approximately 30% of universities across European countries have specific measures to address sexual harassment. However, the assessment of policy effectiveness has shown mixed results. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE, 2018) found that while awareness of policies was high, reporting rates remained low due to fear of retaliation or lack of trust in the system.
Alternative Policy Solutions
In both the US and the other country, there are alternative policy solutions that could enhance existing measures. One promising approach is the implementation of bystander intervention programs. These programs encourage individuals to intervene and prevent potentially harmful situations. Research by Coker et al. (2019) supports the effectiveness of bystander intervention in reducing sexual violence perpetration. Incorporating such programs into campus policies can empower students to take an active role in preventing assault.
Another potential solution involves promoting survivor-centered approaches. In the US, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault (2014) emphasized the importance of supporting survivors through trauma-informed care. This approach acknowledges the psychological impact of assault and tailors support accordingly. A study by Voth Schrag et al. (2021) emphasized the significance of this approach in promoting healing and recovery among survivors.
Campus Responsibility and Prevention
A crucial aspect of addressing sexual assault on college campuses is defining the institution’s responsibility. Colleges should prioritize fostering safe environments that promote respect, consent, and open dialogue. This includes implementing comprehensive prevention programs that educate students about healthy relationships, consent, and bystander intervention. Research by Gidycz et al. (2018) demonstrated that prevention programs are effective in reducing sexual violence perpetration.
In conclusion, campus sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking are critical issues that require rigorous policies and actions. Comparing policies between the United States and another country reveals similarities and differences in prevalence rates, policy effectiveness assessments, and alternative solutions. Addressing these issues requires ongoing evaluation, survivor-centered approaches, and innovative solutions like bystander intervention programs. Colleges globally have a significant role in creating safe and inclusive environments that prioritize prevention, awareness, and support.
Banyard, V. L., Hegarty, E., Cares, A. C., Moynihan, M. M., Williams, L. M., & Edwards, K. M. (2019). What’s being done to prevent sexual violence on college campuses? A qualitative exploration of experts’ perceptions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(9), 1939-1963.
Coker, A. L., Bush, H. M., Cook-Craig, P. G., DeGue, S. A., Clear, E. R., Brancato, C. J., … & Fisher, B. S. (2019). RCT testing bystander effectiveness to reduce violence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(6), e179-e187.
European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). (2018). Data collection on gender-based violence against women in the EU: Summary report. EIGE.
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). (2014). Violence against women: An EU-wide survey. FRA.
Gidycz, C. A., Orchowski, L. M., & Berkowitz, A. D. (2018). Preventing sexual aggression among college men: An evaluation of a social norms and bystander intervention program. Violence Against Women, 24(6), 619-638.
Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2019). College women’s experiences with rape disclosure: A national study. Violence Against Women, 25(7), 761-776.
The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. (2014). Not alone: The first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The White House.
Voth Schrag, R. J., Edmond, T., Hornsby, A., Brown, S., & Elze, D. E. (2021). Adapting and implementing trauma-informed practices for survivors of sexual assault. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 22(4), 679-693.
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