Sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual harassment have not been addressed as seriously as they should be in America. Our laws protect the villains and hamper our court system to enact punishment equivalent to the criminal action of those who attack defenseless victims. Some deny facts; that has become the American way. The truth is that sexual assault is on the rise, especially on the campuses of our universities and our military, and it’s time to take serious action.
The Ray Rice incident began a more extensive investigation into domestic violence. Exposes of other incidences of sexual assault became an additional focus for a short period of time in our universities and the military. The NFL and others have not addressed the problem sufficiently, and once again abuse of women has left the focus of mainstream media.
Women and children are the recipients of over 30,000 deaths or serious injuries each year in the United States. With few exceptions they are the result of an attack by someone with whom they have familiarity. Estranged spouses, lovers and family members comprise the majority of these individuals. Domestic violence and sexual assault are a dirty secret in our nation.
Our nation’s laws are inadequate as a deterrent for the prevention of crimes against women. Only 60 years ago domestic violence was ignored and not considered a crime. Our country lacks a progressive attitude in its actions to be serious about those who commit these attacks and how they should be punished within the legal system.
A clear example of how frivolous the law considers domestic abuse and sexual assault is demonstrated by a recent court decision regarding Harvard Law School. The federal government asserted that the University favored the plaintiffs in two sexual assault accusations. Title IX rules were invoked claiming that the university did not provide a “prompt and equitable response” to the accusations. This summer Harvard adopted a policy of requiring a ‘preponderance of evidence’ in accusations of sexual assault.
Investigations into multiple investigations of how accusations of sexual assault are administered will continue by the Department of Education. However, it is obvious that the more prestigious universities are making attempts to conceal the rising number of sexual assault allegations at their institutions with tactics of delays and a conclusion of innocende without undeniable proof.
Harvard claims that it has been forthcoming in its efforts to resolve accusations of sexual assault and harassment. The facts reveal that decisions frequently extend to periods of over one year.
Women’s rights groups have applauded the decisions made against Harvard University Law School. They believe that the decisions will force other universities to invoke policies which will be more expeditious and forthcoming concerning the increasing number of accusations of sexual assault.
It is a bit disconcerting that the security and rights of women in the United States continues to be less of a priority than someone who spills a hot cup of coffee fully knowledgeable that it could be damaging and receives a monetary settlement.
The time has come to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Changes in the laws of state and federal governments must make the punishment fit the crime. The long lasting results of abuse against women and children is immeasurable. Psychological damage results in conditions which cannot be measured by statistics.
Our nation and the media which reports crime and atrocity in the United States is quick to report the sensational events which satisfy advertisers. We need to be a better country and expose the most serious and numerous crimes committed every day in a nation which claims the title of ‘greatness.’
By James Turnage