Thanks in part to new mandates from the federal government, colleges and universities are more proactive about sexual violence than they were when I started school. Yet the quality of self-defense programs have not improved nearly enough.
A college campus is an insular and hyper-social space with masses of 18-year-olds living away from home and parental controls, in groups of peers together 24/7, often in tight quarters, and with the liberty of a lack of boundaries never before experienced.
What threw me upon learning this was that, by Ohio law, I, too, have been raped, and it was upon the realization that I would be considered a rape victim that I knew what deeply bothered me about this case: Where were the victim's friends?
Not surprisingly, the report's recommendations largely fall short of actually proposing substantive change. We're better off focusing not on changing individual perpetrators but on challenging our culture that supports them.
Sexual assault will not go away after graduation; a stronger educational campaign on how to prevent and deal with sexual assault will go a long way toward students' well-being both at Swarthmore and in the "real world."
As a student, you may feel like your school's policies and programs regarding sexual violence are largely out of your hands. They're not. I know this because I've seen a campus completely transform its sexual violence resources because of pressure from students.