Elwood Watson: Sexual Assault is Gender Blind

tags: Elwood Watson, sexual assault, sexual violence, colleges, students, Diverse Issues in Higher Education



Dr. Elwood Watson is a professor of history and African-American studies at East Tennessee State University.

The fact is that 2012 was a horrible year in terms of sexual assaults on college campuses.

In June 2012, Trey Malone, a junior at Amherst College and a distinguished student both academically and athletically, took his own life after he was unable to deal with the immense trauma and intense emotions he suffered after being the victim of rape by a co-ed. After his suicide, it was discovered that Malone’s experience was not an aberration. On the contrary, he was one of a number of students on the prestigious, leafy, upscale, distinguished liberal arts institution who had been the victim of such a horrific sexual violation. His death made national headlines, caused the Amherst college community to erupt, (the campus president, Carolyn Martin, aggressively denounced the perpetrators of such crimes and led the effort in instituting policies and programs to combat such behavior) sparked widespread discussion on the campus and, once again,  brought the issue of rape and sexual assault to the forefront of national debate.

Truth be told, Amherst College is far from the only institution of higher learning that has been plagued by rapes and sexual assaults. The sad fact is that this sexual assault is a sordid, sickening demonstrably troubling epidemic that is happening on college campuses from coast to coast. In fact, late last summer, Tyler Kingkade, a reporter at The Huffington Post,wrote an article about the crisis that was taking place at the University of Montana at the time. By fall 2012, the problem had become so severe that the campus had earned the title (no doubt, certainly a chilling feeling for the school’s administrators, faculty and many students) the “rape capital” of America. In response to such troubling news, the university implemented a policy that required all students to watch an online video tutorial about rape prevention and required that students pass the test with a perfect score....



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