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Voa02 lesson 31-60, (39) Sexual Assault Remains Major Issue in US Higher Education

(39) Sexual Assault Remains Major Issue in US Higher Education

Sexual Assault Remains Major Issue in US Higher Education

Few people understand the issue of sexual violence at colleges and universities in the United States better than Faith Ferber.

Ferber began her studies at American University, or AU, in Washington, D.C, in the autumn of 2013. By the following spring, the school was facing a major problem.

Messages between members of an unapproved all-male student group were published online, and gained widespread public attention. The messages showed the members openly discussing their involvement in illegal activities, including rape.

Ferber soon took action. She formed a group called Students Against Sexual Violence and organized protests. She got thousands of students to sign a statement demanding that school officials take action.

AU later dismissed 18 students for their involvement in the unapproved group. But before that took place, Ferber became a victim herself. In February 2015, she was sexually assaulted at a party.

She told VOA that, at first, AU officials seemed supportive of her and her case against her attacker. But after the investigation was over and the school began deciding what action to take, things changed.

Ferber said AU officials asked her to sign an agreement saying she would not discuss the details of her case with anyone. Ferber's attacker admitted responsibility, but the school did not dismiss that student as she requested.

She then learned that AU had violated Department of Education rules governing how colleges and universities should deal with sexual assault. So she contacted the agency, which eventually led to an investigation into the school. That investigation is ongoing.

Ferber continues to fight sexual violence through her work with Know Your IX. The organization teaches college students how to hold their schools accountable. Ferber argues that colleges and universities in the U.S. cannot let fear of critical media attention prevent them from supporting abuse victims. And, she adds, conversations about sex and sexual violence in America need to change.

“From a very young age we teach women that it's their responsibility to not get raped or to not be attacked,” said Ferber. “That combined with a hesitancy to discuss sex and consent with young Americans, the result is that kids end up at college living … on their own for the first time, barely adults … with very, very little information, if not misinformation, on … healthy sexual relationships.”

Some schools are trying to better understand the problem. In October, the Association of American Universities, or AAU, released the findings of its 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct.

This study questioned nearly 182,000 students at 33 public research universities across the country about their experiences with sexual wrongdoing. It also asked them what they knew about their schools' policies and support systems in place for victims.

The study showed that there have been no notable changes in rates of sexual assaults at U.S. colleges and universities since 2015. That was the first year of the AAU survey.

There were some notable improvements. There has been a rise in the number of students saying they understood the meaning of consent, as well as what can be considered assault. And more students reported knowing how to report an incident to school officials.

However, this year's AAU study found one major issue continues: many victims are still not reporting incidents. The number of victims who inform their schools or local police remains low, at around 15 percent.

“Although we've made progress, there is much work to do,” AAU President Mary Sue Coleman wrote in a statement. “We now know that schools should continue to concentrate their educational efforts and resources on incoming first-year … students, since they are clearly more vulnerable ... than their older classmates.”

Colby Bruno is the senior legal counsel with the Victim Rights Law Center, which offers legal support to people affected by sexual assault. She said the increased knowledge of consent is a promising sign. And the fact that schools are willing to take part in this kind of research shows they seem willing to take action.

But, Bruno says, the situation on college campuses will not improve unless students fully understand consent – and schools have strong policies they are willing to enforce.

“If a school ignores or if there is a problem with rape and sexual assault on campus... then it's not just a problem for the individuals who have been assaulted,” she said. “It's a larger problem for the whole student body, because there is a hostile environment that exists on that campus.”

Bruno and Ferber agree that what schools also need is guidance from the government. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education, under President Donald Trump, changed guidelines established by former President Barack Obama. Those guidelines advised institutions that receive federal financial aid on how to best deal with incidents of sexual assault.

Bruno and Ferber say the changes have weakened support for victims.


(39) Sexual Assault Remains Major Issue in US Higher Education (39) 性侵犯仍然是美国高等教育的主要问题

Sexual Assault Remains Major Issue in US Higher Education 性侵犯仍然是美国高等教育的主要问题

Few people understand the issue of sexual violence at colleges and universities in the United States better than Faith Ferber. 很少有人比 Faith Ferber 更了解美国高校的性暴力问题。

Ferber began her studies at American University, or AU, in Washington, D.C, in the autumn of 2013. By the following spring, the school was facing a major problem. 到了第二年春天,学校面临着一个重大问题。

Messages between members of an unapproved all-male student group were published online, and gained widespread public attention. 未经批准的全男学生团体成员之间的消息在网上发布,并引起了公众的广泛关注。 The messages showed the members openly discussing their involvement in illegal activities, including rape. 这些信息显示成员公开讨论他们参与包括强奸在内的非法活动。

Ferber soon took action. She formed a group called Students Against Sexual Violence and organized protests. 她成立了一个名为“学生反对性暴力”的组织并组织了抗议活动。 She got thousands of students to sign a statement demanding that school officials take action. 她让数千名学生签署一份声明,要求学校官员采取行动。

AU later dismissed 18 students for their involvement in the unapproved group. AU 后来解雇了 18 名学生,因为他们参与了未经批准的团体。 But before that took place, Ferber became a victim herself. 但在那之前,费伯自己也成了受害者。 In February 2015, she was sexually assaulted at a party. 2015年2月,她在一次聚会上遭到性侵犯。

She told VOA that, at first, AU officials seemed supportive of her and her case against her attacker. 她告诉美国之音,起初,非盟官员似乎支持她和她对袭击她的人的指控。 But after the investigation was over and the school began deciding what action to take, things changed. 但是在调查结束并且学校开始决定采取什么行动之后,情况发生了变化。

Ferber said AU officials asked her to sign an agreement saying she would not discuss the details of her case with anyone. Ferber's attacker admitted responsibility, but the school did not dismiss that student as she requested. 袭击弗伯的人承认了责任,但学校没有按她的要求开除那个学生。

She then learned that AU had violated Department of Education rules governing how colleges and universities should deal with sexual assault. 然后她得知非盟违反了教育部关于高校应如何处理性侵犯的规定。 So she contacted the agency, which eventually led to an investigation into the school. 所以她联系了该机构,最终导致对学校的调查。 That investigation is ongoing. 该调查正在进行中。

Ferber continues to fight sexual violence through her work with Know Your IX. 弗伯继续通过她与 Know Your IX 的合作来打击性暴力。 The organization teaches college students how to hold their schools accountable. 该组织教大学生如何对学校负责。 Ferber argues that colleges and universities in the U.S. 弗伯认为美国的学院和大学 cannot let fear of critical media attention prevent them from supporting abuse victims. 不能让对媒体批评关注的恐惧阻止他们支持虐待受害者。 And, she adds, conversations about sex and sexual violence in America need to change. 而且,她补充说,美国关于性和性暴力的对话需要改变。

“From a very young age we teach women that it's their responsibility to not get raped or to not be attacked,” said Ferber. “从很小的时候起,我们就教导女性不被强奸或不被攻击是她们的责任,”费伯说。 “That combined with a hesitancy to discuss sex and consent with young Americans, the result is that kids end up at college living … on their own for the first time, barely adults … with very, very little information, if not misinformation, on … healthy sexual relationships.” “再加上对与年轻美国人讨论性和同意的犹豫,结果是孩子们最终在大学生活......第一次独自生活,几乎没有成年人......只有非常非常少的信息,如果不是错误信息,关于......健康的性关系。”

Some schools are trying to better understand the problem. 一些学校正试图更好地理解这个问题。 In October, the Association of American Universities, or AAU, released the findings of its 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. 10 月,美国大学协会 (AAU) 发布了 2019 年校园性侵犯和不当行为校园气候调查的结果。

This study questioned nearly 182,000 students at 33 public research universities across the country about their experiences with sexual wrongdoing. 这项研究向全国 33 所公立研究型大学的近 182,000 名学生询问了他们在性犯罪方面的经历。 It also asked them what they knew about their schools' policies and support systems in place for victims. 它还询问他们对学校为受害者制定的政策和支持系统了解多少。

The study showed that there have been no notable changes in rates of sexual assaults at U.S. 研究表明,美国的性侵犯率没有显着变化 colleges and universities since 2015. That was the first year of the AAU survey. 那是 AAU 调查的第一年。

There were some notable improvements. 有一些显着的改进。 There has been a rise in the number of students saying they understood the meaning of consent, as well as what can be considered assault. 越来越多的学生表示他们理解同意的含义,以及什么可以被视为攻击。 And more students reported knowing how to report an incident to school officials. 更多的学生报告说知道如何向学校官员报告事件。

However, this year's AAU study found one major issue continues: many victims are still not reporting incidents. 然而,今年的 AAU 研究发现一个主要问题仍在继续:许多受害者仍然没有报告事件。 The number of victims who inform their schools or local police remains low, at around 15 percent. 通知学校或当地警察的受害者人数仍然很少,约为 15%。

“Although we've made progress, there is much work to do,” AAU President Mary Sue Coleman wrote in a statement. “虽然我们取得了进展,但还有很多工作要做,”AAU 主席玛丽苏科尔曼在一份声明中写道。 “We now know that schools should continue to concentrate their educational efforts and resources on incoming first-year … students, since they are clearly more vulnerable ... than their older classmates.” “我们现在知道,学校应该继续将他们的教育努力和资源集中在即将入学的一年级……学生身上,因为他们显然比他们的年长同学更容易受到伤害。”

Colby Bruno is the senior legal counsel with the Victim Rights Law Center, which offers legal support to people affected by sexual assault. Colby Bruno 是受害者权利法律中心的高级法律顾问,该中心为受性侵犯影响的人提供法律支持。 She said the increased knowledge of consent is a promising sign. 她说,增加对同意的了解是一个有希望的迹象。 And the fact that schools are willing to take part in this kind of research shows they seem willing to take action. 学校愿意参与此类研究的事实表明,他们似乎愿意采取行动。

But, Bruno says, the situation on college campuses will not improve unless students fully understand consent – and schools have strong policies they are willing to enforce. 但是,布鲁诺说,除非学生完全理解同意,否则大学校园的情况不会改善——而且学校有他们愿意执行的强有力的政策。

“If a school ignores or if there is a problem with rape and sexual assault on campus... then it's not just a problem for the individuals who have been assaulted,” she said. “如果一所学校忽视了,或者如果校园里存在强奸和性侵犯的问题……那么这不仅仅是被袭击者的问题,”她说。 “It's a larger problem for the whole student body, because there is a hostile environment that exists on that campus.” “这对整个学生群体来说是一个更大的问题,因为那个校园里存在着一个敌对的环境。”

Bruno and Ferber agree that what schools also need is guidance from the government. 布鲁诺和弗伯同意学校还需要政府的指导。 In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education, under President Donald Trump, changed guidelines established by former President Barack Obama. 唐纳德特朗普总统领导下的教育部改变了前总统巴拉克奥巴马制定的指导方针。 Those guidelines advised institutions that receive federal financial aid on how to best deal with incidents of sexual assault. 这些指导方针建议接受联邦财政援助的机构如何最好地处理性侵犯事件。

Bruno and Ferber say the changes have weakened support for victims. 布鲁诺和弗伯说,这些变化削弱了对受害者的支持。