According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 19 percent of all undergraduate women have been the victim of sexual violence on college campuses across the country
"The price of a college education should not be that one in five women will be sexually assaulted,” says Senator Kristen Gillibrand.
Because of a reluctance to come forward, the actual number of victims could be much higher
The Campus Accountability and Safety Act calls for schools to keep a public database of campus assault cases. After reviewing more than 200 collegiate surveys, senate leaders determined that an alarming number of incidents were not being reported.
Laura Dunn has been public about her experiences as a victim of sexual assault while attending the University of Wisconsin. Now, she is an attorney lending her voice to the legislative debate over possible solutions to sexual violence.
“Having read this legislation, nothing in it is particularly controversial, schools will claim that the fines are controversial but let's be realistic, we are talking about civil rights violations, of course they need a consequence,” says Dunn.
Senator Claire McCaskill calls on colleges to step up and face the challenge.
"I typically don't talk to lobbyists,” says McCaskill. “I'd rather talk directly with the universities."
Dunn, who now runs a non-profit aimed at stopping sexual assault on college campuses, offers advice to those preparing to enter college in the coming weeks.
"The majority of sexual violence will happen in the first week, in the first month of school,” she says. “So I think the message that young women and men need to hear is that the first couple of weeks be very careful, be thoughtful, you are obviously wanting to meet people, you want to have fun like everyone else on campus, but just be aware that this is the most risky time."
It’s important advice for young students entering one of the most critical chapters of their lives.
McCaskill hopes lawmakers will vote on this bill in September.
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