Out of the Shadows
Understanding sexual assault on campus
You would think that the horror story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia would change everything. Except then it got complicated. Did it really happen? Why were there conflicting accounts? And what’s with the two-year wait before reporting?
The case may have been disappointing to those who wanted swift and simple justice, but it did help shine a light on a problem that lurks in the shadows of every campus across the United States: sexual assault. Finally, we are seeing the hard facts about sexual assault and the web of campus culture that allows it to happen: Victim blaming. Fear of retaliation. Conflicting accounts. Partying, fraternities, bad boys versus predators. Campus adjudication—or lack thereof.
It’s complicated. It’s hidden. And it’s time we brought it out of the shadows so we can better understand, and better address, this hidden plague on our college campuses.