Saturday, March 6, 2010

NPR reports that repeat offenders are responsible for 90% of sexual assault on campus

In NPR's continued coverage of campus sexual assault, they bust myth that student rapists are making a one-time bad decision that gives administrators a "teachable moment" to reform young minds. In this latest installment they report on psychologist David Lisak's work. He has found an entirely different picture of campus rape from the one administrators choose to believe:
What Lisak found was that students who commit rape on a college campus are pretty much like those rapists in prison. In both groups, many are serial rapists. On college campuses, repeat predators account for 9 out of every 10 rapes.

And these offenders on campuses — just like men in prison for rape — look for the most vulnerable women. Lisak says that on a college campus, the women most likely to be sexually assaulted are freshmen.

"It's quite well-known amongst college administrators that first-year students, freshman women, are particularly at risk for sexual assault," Lisak says. "The predators on campus know that women who are new to campus, they are younger, they're less experienced. They probably have less experience with alcohol, they want to be accepted. They will probably take more risks because they want to be accepted. So for all these reasons, the predators will look particularly for those women."
NPR's ongoing coverage has been a true eye-opener for me, and I hope more people tune in. I am left, unfortunately, with a cynicism for college administrators. It's possible that they are simply naive idealists, but I suspect they have known for a while about this situation. Universities are harboring criminals through their administrative disciplinary procedures, in which rapists are rarely even expelled, no less sent to jail where they belong, and it has got to end.

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