Failing to Protect
Under most circumstances a call is made and the rape is reported to the police. Within a matter of minutes the police arrive along with an ambulance and the victim is escorted to the emergency room. Forensic tests will be preformed to collect fluids, fibers, hair, and to preserve the evidence for further analysis. The police will take a statement from the victim, and the victim is to decide if they want to pursue persecution of their rapist. This is normally how authorities handle cases of rape, but unluckily not how rapes on college campuses are normally dealt with.
Many colleges have their own police departments that are supposed to have authority over all aspects of crime done on the campus. These departments are made up of a few actual police officers, more than a hand-full of security guards, and student workers. A few police officers, security guards, and students are supposed to have the ability to investigate anything from a burglary of a stolen iPhone to the murder of a student. More than once have these “police departments” failed to persecute and deal with crimes going on in very place they are sworn to protect. In 2002 when Jerry Sandusky was raping little boys in Penn State showers, the crime was recounted to the campus “police department” and they failed to do anything or even report to the local authorities. These departments are unable to handle large unpleasant cases.
Coupled with the grossly inadequate “police departments” on campuses is the fact that most colleges and universities do not let cases go to the judicial court that everyone else uses in the community. Most colleges and universities use honor committees, honor boards, and other campus led judicial systems. These systems do not use judges or lawyers, but are run by students and educators. So it is not hard to images cases being handled in the wrong way and even being swept under the rug.
When rape cases are reported on college campuses, young women are supposed to be protected by their police department and campus judicial system. However many times the young woman is not protected by system that is supposed to protect her. Many times the campus police are not trained in handling the rape and are not sure what to do. Or the police are trained to not let the college or university get a bad reputation so the rape is swept under the covers. They view that the rape did not publicly occur if the story gets discredited, alcohol and drugs are the main culprits in a rape being discredited. The college or university discredits the rape and the young woman is placed in a situation where she has no help.
When the administration does nothing to prosecute the rapists on campus they send a message that rape is ok. Saying that rape is ok has major consequences. Rapists become serial rapists because they know they will not get in trouble. Even men who would not rape under normal circumstances are inspired because rape will be tolerated without consequences. This leads to a vicious cycle of the number of rapes growing larger each year, but never being investigated or dealt with. This system is why one in five women on a college campus will be victims of completed or attempted rape.