Support needs visibility

by Simpsonian Editors

According to a study by the National Institute of Justice, college women are at greater risk of rape than women in the general population who are not in a college environment.

Simpson’s security report, which can be found at Simpson’s Web site, hosts a mere seven paragraphs concerning sexual assault, while a grand total of two lines address date rape.

The lack of attention to rape is not evident at Simpson alone. A search of the Web sites of other private Iowa colleges such as Coe, Drake, and Luther reveal that while the colleges do address the issue, resources are scant, and in some cases hard to find.

To report a date rape, Simpson suggests one go to Student Development, or to Campus Security. The college’s counselor, Craig Peck, may be helpful, but being the sole counselor for the entire community tends to mean a packed schedule.

Both Peck and the head of security, Chris Frerichs, are male, and female victims may not feel comfortable reporting the crime to a male. Victims are already making a personal gamble by reporting the incident: experts estimate that 90 percent of rapes go unreported because of shame, embarrassment or guilt experienced on the part of the victim.

A good example of illustrated support comes from the University of Notre Dame and an outline they provide for students who may be victims of sexual assault. The document lists detailed reporting procedures (including medical services and evidence collection), victim options (legal, disciplinary, housing and academic), and university and community resources, complete with on and off campus telephone numbers. The document comes to six pages.

Simpson may have a support system for victims of sexual assault, but without more visibility and education, a victim may not know that it exists.

It is terrible to know that such crimes occur here. Worse still is the notion that Simpson may perpetuate the problem through limited resources for assault victims.