Notalone.gov to Assist Campus Rape Victims
Want to know whether there’s been a history of sexual assaults on your college campus? The Obama administration has created a new website that will post enforcement actions it’s taken against schools and provide information for victims on where to go for help.
A White House task force on sexual assault recommended actions Tuesday that colleges and universities should take to protect victims and inform the public about the magnitude of the problem, such as identifying confidential victim’s advocates and conducting surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses.
The recommendations stem from a 90-day review by the task force that President Barack Obama created after his administration heard complaints about the poor treatment of campus rape victims and the hidden nature of such crimes.
The task force also promised greater transparency. A new website, notalone.gov, will post enforcement actions and offers information to victims about how to seek local help and information about filing a complaint.
"Colleges and universities can no longer turn a blind eye or pretend that rape and sexual assault doesn’t occur on their campus," Vice President Joe Biden said in announcing the results of the task force’s work.
Advocates praised the rare, high-profile attention being given to the issue, even as they acknowledged that much of the action required will still need to come from college administrators.
Lisa Maatz, vice president for government affairs with the American Association of University Women, said the "smart schools" will take the recommendations and adopt them.
Rory Gerberg, a graduate student and advocate at Harvard University, said that while the task force recommendations will play a central role in determining how universities deal with sexual assaults, they only go so far.
"As students, it will be our responsibility to put pressure on our university administrations to ensure these recommendations are put into practice," Gerberg said.
Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, said her organization representing college and university presidents welcomed the chance to collaborate with the government on handling sexual assaults, "which the task force notes is a ’complicated, multidimensional problem with no easy or quick solutions."