White House Recommendations on Campus Sexual Assaults

There has been a lot of talk recently about the response of colleges and universities to sexual violence.  Much of this discussion stems from the president’s appointment of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.  This task force has the challenging job of identifying and sharing best practices for prevention and response, increasing transparency of the government’s enforcement activities, raising awareness about institutional compliance, and facilitating interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors.  This, my friends, is quite a task list. 

Several organizations have shared their thoughts and ideas with the task force (check out my related post urging us to dig a bit deeper).  The NSVRC is happy to share the recommendations they (along with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape) released to the task force in March.  At the heart of these recommendations is the belief that sexual violence IS preventable.   A great prevention and response effort starts with the belief that sexual violence is a learned behavior that is heavily influenced by cultural norms at various levels of the social ecology.  To prevent violence requires that we address the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that allow sexual violence to exist and persist at the individual level, within relationships, in our communities, and within society as a whole.   Efforts should be trauma-informed, should engage the entire campus community at various levels, should be culturally relevant, comprehensive, and multi-layered, and should be long-term. It is also critical that campuses engage the subject matter experts in their communities, including their community-based rape crisis centers and their state coalitions. 

I am looking forward to the ideas and recommendations that come from this task force.  What about you? What would your recommendations be?  Feel free to share your comments below.