As a mother of two young-ish daughters (and a son), I’m sort of living in fear all the time, trying to make sure they don’t hear or read certain news bites, because there’s always a story about sexual assault or murder. Part of being a parent is knowing we have to discuss these things at some point, but another part is wanting to protect them from it as long as possible, to let them be carefree kids a little bit longer. Inside, my gut wrenches at the thought of them getting older and dealing with the insanity that goes on in this world. Sure it’s always been insane out there, but it really does feel like something’s different — is it just that we’re more connected, and hear about the madness on a grander scale? Or have we created a world where our daughters can never really feel safe?
Last night, The Daily Show took on the issue of sexual assault at our nation’s colleges, and the incomprehensible lack of consequences for perpetrators, specifically referencing a recent incident involving James Madison University students. An attack on a female student by three fraternity brothers while on spring break was captured on video and passed around to other people; the University’s response: The attackers were permanently expelled from school…after graduation. Yes, you read that right. As you might imagine, Stewart goes bananas (and the school is now under investigation) for the way it handled the complaint. Beyond that, TDS correspondents Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper offer up their radically different campus safety dos and don’t for guys and girls, and it is their part of the segment that both rings true, making me want to cheer…and at the same time cry.
While to some, Williams’ suggestions and warnings might seem alarmist, to most women, they’re things we must think about, prepare ourselves for, and do. And you know what, no matter what kind of world we’re living in, it is just unacceptable. That our schools are covering up or not taking proper disciplinary action against sexual attackers is as good as aiding and abetting; as Stewart says, “Are colleges trying to incentivize sexual assault?” Indeed.