Last month I wrote a short essay on sexual assaults on college campuses paired with technology. In the wake of hearing about the Obama administration confronting this issues I thought I would share the essay here:
The correlation between sexual assaults on campuses and with technology (social media/cell phones)
Students should be able to focus on furthering their education when they step onto their college Campus. Unfortunately, campus rape is an all too looming factor that is also on the minds of many and this has been a problem on college campuses far too long. The Rape Abuse Incest National Network reports there is an average of approximately 267,900 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year. Those, however, only represent the assaults reported while 60 percent go unreported to the authorities.
Use of cellphones and social media have streamlined these assaults to be viewed by others, at times becoming viral. Most of these of course are unreported cases broadcasted so publicly. We see these cases are becoming more bold as technology and social media advances. In looking at the influx of campus sexual assault cases coming from High Schools and Colleges we have to consider the use of technology though social media and cell phones in aiding assailants. We will find the best way to bring a cease to these cases is through applying more boundaries, implications and more importantly staying a step ahead of technology that the youth are exposed to.
Nevertheless, the number of cases can be hampered if a) more students are aware and educated of the ramifications, b) schools gain more control of alcohol and substance abuse on campus and c) adults and superiors are active and educated with new technology.
While the number of sexual assault cases may not have risen in the past decade a new trend has arisen. Many young men look to broadcasting their antics as an inebriated and temporary sense of self-regard. These antics are sometimes the result of intoxication or drug use. Now with the evolution of technology happening so rapidly there are new methods for expression. These new methods, however, can also be used in ways that are inappropriate, demeaning, and illegal. This is exactly what we are finding in more instances. From the Steubenville High school football players publicizing their acts of raping a young girl while she was unconscious via Twitter, Youtube and Instagram to the more recent case during Ohio State’s 2013 Homecoming where a man raped an unconscious woman in an alleyway and posted the video to the popular Vine platform. These are cases where these heinous acts have gone viral but many remain “low-key” simply being shared amongst smaller networks by way of text, emails, etc.
So how can these new methods of broadcasting assaults stop? First, of course, the acts must be hindered. The grasp of external substances must be controlled on campuses to deter acts. Education of what sexual assault really is should also be addressed as many students as well as adults are not familiar with the definitions especially how they change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. More importantly more adults and officials should be active with new technology and social networks. Social networks are cracking down on illegal posts but proactive actions by users and officials are best. Keeping one’s ear to the ground can help prevent further sexual assaults from happening.