Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced recently that he is pledging $3 million grant to help colleges and universities improve services for campus sexual assault victims. The recent rise in sexual assaults on college campuses can be disturbing and have been on the rise. In 2013, Ohio campuses reported 242 sexual assaults which are up from 227 in 2012 and 195 in 2011. The unsettling part is that the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has found that one in five women will be the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault and nine of ten will know the perpetrator. According to the center, more than 90% of sexual assault victims do not report the incident so the actual number is even more disturbing.
The goal of DeWine’s grant is to improve both the reporting of sexual assaults and keep them from happening in the first place. He said in a press conference, “Campuses are not separate enclaves. They are part of the state of Ohio and the victims deserve rights whether on that campus or not.” Ohio’s police academy training will offer a new round of advanced training to campus professionals on how to investigate sexual assaults. A large roadblock in the system is that sexual assault victims feel embarrassed and suffer by themselves instead of reporting the incident. Many people do not know their rights under the law and are too afraid of the consequences. It is important that bystanders, witnesses, and friends and family of sexual assault victims report abuse.
The Ohio Attorney General began the first of five sexual assault investigation training sessions at Bowling Green University on July 21st. The seminar is to educate school officials on sexual assault and build a stronger bond between the schools and local law enforcement. Raven Loaiza, the sexual assault victim advocate for the attorney general’s crime victim services section, spoke about how the absence of a “no” does not mean a “yes” when regarding sexual advances. “A lot of the time society blames the victim. She was drunk, she was wearing a short skirt, she was asking for it. Alcohol doesn’t cause rape, rapists cause rape.”
If you or someone you know has been sexual assaulted, contact an attorney at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder today.