The June 14 front-page article “1 in 5 women say they were violated” movingly detailed the scope of the sexual assault crisis confronting colleges and universities, which is worsened by well-meaning but woefully inadequate actions by the schools. Faced with more than 100 ongoing investigations by the Education Department, schools have hurriedly revised and created procedures for the investigation and hearing processes regarding campus sexual assaults. These poorly designed and poorly implemented practices fail victim and accused alike.
As a former sex-crimes prosecutor who now represents student victims of sexual assault and those accused of it, I have witnessed flawed investigations and amateurish hearings that cannot possibly provide justice. Our students deserve far better.
Colleges and universities should be required to disclose the training given to their sexual assault investigators and hearing boards. The training should be provided by professionals with specific experience in conducting sexual assault investigations and prosecutions. The brave victims who have brought this issue to the forefront of national consciousness have done their part. Now the schools must do theirs. Transparency is but a first step.
Shanlon Wu, Alexandria
I am not suggesting that any of these young victims deserved what happened to them, but walking into traffic, while not a request to be hit by a truck, surely carries with it the possibility of a bad outcome.
A theme in this article, as well as with recent disappearances of college women, is drinking to oblivion and either passing out or wandering off with strangers. Or thinking that sleeping in a bed with someone, friend or stranger, is a good or safe decision.
The old “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” campaign needs to be updated: Friends don’t let friends drink themselves into a stupor. Friends don’t let friends go off with strangers.
Alcohol is dangerous.
Pen Suritz, Arlington
In the June 15 front-page article “Alcohol is central to college culture — and to unwanted sex,” nearly every bit of data and every anecdote were about the victims’ consumption of alcohol and its role in their having been assaulted. There was little about the role alcohol played in the alleged assailants’ decisions to assault those women.
Did the men said to have committed these acts also consume alcohol to the point that they no longer could control their urges or understand whether their partners were willing? Or was the situation much starker and more disturbing — did the assailants remain sober and seek to intoxicate the victims for the sole purpose of rendering them incapable of resisting? How many college rapes occurred because of the former scenario, and how many because of the latter? What do we do about the use of alcohol on the attackers’ side of the equation?
Let’s get one thing absolutely crystal clear: None of those women was assaulted because of alcohol. Each was assaulted because someone decided to commit assault. We won’t see an end to this problem until we put responsibility squarely where it belongs: on the shoulders of the people committing the assaults.
Beth Lee-De Amici, Crofton
These are the best examples The Post could come up with? Thirty years ago, no one would have considered these cases actionable sex crimes. Colleges should not handle these cases until the police and district attorneys have investigated and prosecuted.
More to the point, what were these women thinking when they placed themselves in situations that “maybe” were sexual assaults? Did their parents tell them not to drink while under age? Why did they intentionally get drunk and then go to parties where a lot of young males on the prowl would be targeting them? It is no different from going to a high-crime area, leaving the keys in the car and being shocked when the car is not there two hours later.
Wayne L. Johnson, Alexandria
Why is anyone surprised that we are reaping what we have sown? When society, including the media, has labored for 40 or more years to remove protective sexual restrictions and to promote sexual anarchy, of course we will have “a culture of expected sex,” as the June 14 front-page article “Sex assault in college is common, often traumatic ” accurately described the wretched degradation of college life today.
Mary Kay Stine, Reston