While I appreciate the perspective of those who feel they’ve been wrongly accused of sexual assault on college campuses [“Men accused of sexual crimes at colleges lash out at process,” news, Aug. 21], this serious issue is finally receiving the attention it deserves.
For too long we’ve dismissed sexual assault, fostering a campus culture where it is underreported, perpetrators are excused, victims are intimidated and support services are inadequate. It’s time for a single, transparent, fair process with uniform evidentiary standards. The victim and the accused should be provided immediate access to trained professionals to support their case. All victims must receive counseling services regardless of whether they pursue charges. Campus leadership must change a system that has tolerated abuse.
This cultural shift would be the most transformative step in confronting the issue. The military has taken positive strides to address the challenge. Reports of sexual assault have increased, indicating that the system is working better for everyone. Colleges should follow the military model. We must instill public confidence in the system and create an environment in which students recognize that sexual violence will not be tolerated.
Mai Fernandez, Washington
The writer is executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.