DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a first of its kind study involving sexual assault cases at colleges and universities. The report, commissioned by Congress found that more than 40-percent of schools have not conducted a single sexual assault investigation in the past five years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five women report being sexually assaulted while attending college.
Janae Denmon, who recently graduated from college, said, “I think it happens more often than you hear about.”
Denmon believes there is a ‘rape culture’ that exists on many campuses and that the environment is disguised even more as victims cope through denial.
“They [rape victims] blame themselves. [Thinking] you know maybe they shouldn’t have had that drink, maybe they should have gone home earlier with that friend… but in the end it’s their decision. Rationalization is a huge part of that.”
A new senate report says many universities aren’t complying with federal policies designed to combat sexual assault.
Bobbie Villareal is the Executive Director of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. “They [university administrators] don’t want to admit what problem they have on the campus, because they don’t want to scare the students away or the parents away. Because, if you think about this these are dollars. They’re afraid to scare away the dollars!”
Colleges that receive federal dollars are required to investigate reports of sexual misconduct. The U.S. Department of Education has launched investigations into some 67 colleges and universities over their handling of the issue.
Currently Southern Methodist University (SMU) has three separate sexual violence cases under review by federal education officials.
A statement addressing the investigation on the university’s website said, in part –
“The Department of Education is reviewing three SMU cases that predate the University’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. One case involved a complaint of inappropriate language in a classroom; one involved an alleged sexual assault that was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office; and the third case, which does not involve a sexual assault allegation, is currently the subject of litigation.”
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill pushed for the Capitol Hill report hoping to draw some kind of attention to the issue.
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