White House plan to fight college sex assault

FRESNO, Calif.

Along with the White House, Fresno State is making an effort to raise awareness of sexual assaults, a crime extremely under-reported. And backing from the Federal government is very welcome by the worried students.

New research from a White House task force says at colleges and universities across the country a staggering 1-in-5 female students is attacked during college.

Freshman students, like Mallory Harrison, are most at risk. "I think that raising awareness and workshops and things like that, even though people think they're overrated I think they do really work and it would be real beneficial to college students," Harrison said.

The most recent published crime reports for Fresno State show just seven reported rapes from 2011 and 2012. But, there could be more. RCS Fresno, a center for sex assault survivors, says only about 60% of rapes are reported and on college campuses. The number is a stunning 12%.

"It raises a lot of troubling questions," said RCS Fresno Executive Director Monte Jewell. "With the White House shining a light on the issue, we get a chance to maybe get some help to people who need it."

The White House's new guidelines include helping schools improve reporting and investigations, better enforcement and teaching students how to intervene.

"You're not the police, you're not superman or anything," said Jessica Adams from Fresno State's Women's Resource Center. "Just stepping in and breaking that tension often is enough."

Adams is working with students at the Fresno State Women's Resource Center. They are preparing for several awareness events scheduled for Wednesday targeting rape prevention.

At UC Berkley Sofie Karasek and several other survivors filed a federal complaint against the campus recently. They claiming the university failed them when they were assaulted. The new federal ideas are good Karasek says, but without funding she questions enforcement.

"We can look at the policy and say oh this policy is compliant with federal law, but in practice are these standards really being upheld," Karasek questioned.

The White House says what's next for its task force is to look at how it can help with assaults at other campuses like high schools and middle schools.

Visit the following links for more information:

Campus sexual assault awareness activities in line with new report
Fresno State Women's Resource Center

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