Sexual Assault in College is Devastating; Why You Might Be Surprised About the Statistics

October 30th 2014

In this powerful video made exclusively for attn and Yahoo, Savannah Badalich, a senior at UCLA, bravely details her experience being sexually assaulted at a student government retreat while a sophomore in college. 

"I didn't really know what do, she says, recalling her traumatic experience. "I don't think that anyone really knows what to do in that situation. So, at first, I didn't fight back... I just sort of laid there, not sure what to do. I then started saying 'no' multiple times and he didn't listen. And after a while I stopped saying anything at all."

As Savannah explains, her case is hardly uncommon. Currently,1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college and 78 colleges and universities are under investigation for their questionable handling of sexual assault complaints. The White House has also created a task force to look into the matter, and many advocates are now questioning whether colleges should be in the business of adjudicating serious felony accusations in the first place (given their misaligned interests in maintaining positive public relations).

California Governor Jerry Brown just signed new legislation that would require all state universities receiving public funds to adhere to a strict "affirmative consent standard" for sexual assault cases. Dubbed the "yes means yes" standard, this new measure stipulates that sex is only consensual when both involved parties voice "an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement." Thus, silence, lack of protest, or being impaired by drugs or alcohol does not equal consent.

"Survivors of sexual assault cannot have their fear or silence during the assault be used against them in legal or college proceedings," states Savannah.

New bipartisan federal legislation, the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, sponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio, would also require colleges to publish their sexual assault statistics online so that parents and students can make an informed choice when comparing universities. To add your name in support of the legislation, click here.

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