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Universities battle with campus sex assaults

Sexual harassment is a crime that is common, however, not freely spoken about. This is a problem that exists not only in the workplace, but other institutions as well. Most recently, academic institutions are trying to decrease the number of sex assaults on campus after the case of a university swimmer came to light. The student claimed she was raped and eventually committed suicide.

Many universities are allocating more and more of their resources in efforts to reduce the number of sexual assaults on campus, but the question remains: How should these institutions help protect their students when the victims prefer not to contact a law enforcement agency in cases of sexual abuse?

Sexual harassment can come in many forms and may cause anxiety and humiliation for the victim. The victim may be intimidated and may not confront their attacker or seek legal help. According to statistics addressed by President Obama, 1 out of every 5 females are sexually victimized while in college, however, only 1 of every 8 report these offenses. 

For cases such as these, the university where the attack took place is actively trying to reduce unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment on campus. Any student who is not keen on seeking legal help can alternatively turn to a disciplinary hearing on campus. Further assistance can be provided from the institution by helping students cut contact with these individuals, change classes or obtain alternate campus living arrangements.

Following this incident, California students may also take heed and find it beneficial to contact their relevant authorities or trustworthy resources in case of any unwanted advances or attacks. Sexual harassment is not exclusive of any state. Victims of sexual abuse and harassment may suffer psychologically and may benefit if they can seek help or confide in someone they trust.

Source: ABC News, “Swimmer's Death Casts Light on Campus Sex Assaults,” Alan Scher Zaiger, Jan. 29, 2014

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