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Preventing Sexual Assault: Colleges and Men Urged to Lead

PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
PHOTO: One effort that continues to grow nationwide to raise awareness and get men more involved in sexual assault prevention is called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations
February 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - With an estimated one in five women sexually assaulted during college, a new effort is under way to help schools do a better job with prevention and response.

The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has 90 days to come up with recommendations. Those should include the training of college leadership and responders on treating the issue as the serious crime it is, said Anita Carpenter, chief executive of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

"Student affairs offices, campus law enforcement, they really are working these issues very hard,” she said. “I think they have some inherent challenges and we just need to raise more awareness that these resources are available and out there."

She said those who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to later have depression, battle substance abuse or suffer from a wide range of physical ailments.

In announcing the creation of the task force, President Obama also called on men to become more involved in prevention. Carpenter said that really could help shift the tide.

"When the majority of the perpetrators are male,” she said, “if we don't bring men to the table to engage them in the solution, to get them involved in changing the paradigm and norms that perpetuate sexual violence, then we just continue to put a Band-Aid on a problem."

In the United States, it's estimated that about 22 million women and 1.6 million men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

Data on sexual assault is online at iowacasa.org. Obama’s address is at whitehouse.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN