What They're Saying: New Steps to Protect Students from Sexual Assault

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One in five college-aged women is sexually assaulted in college – most often by someone she knows. The Obama Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence, which is why today, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released its first-ever report and announced a series of actions to help address the problem and make sure victims know they are not alone.

In addition to helping schools identify the scope of the problem, prevent sexual assault on campus, and respond when a student is assaulted, today’s announcements will also help strengthen federal enforcement efforts and improve and improve government communication with survivors, parents, school administrators, and the public.

To make enforcement data and other sexual assault resources accessible to students and schools, the task force launched a new website, www.NotAlone.gov. On the site, students can learn about their rights, search enforcement data, and read about how to file a complaint. Schools and advocates can find federal guidance on legal obligations, the best research, and relevant legislation.

See what organizations and elected leaders from around the country are saying about today’s announcements.

"As President Obama said, sexual violence is not just a crime against individuals—it threatens our entire country. That’s why it’s reassuring to see this administration take a comprehensive look at this issue so we can address the serious topic of sexual assault on college campuses … A new website launched by the White House today, NotAlone.Gov, is a much-needed resource for students to access the information they need and to which they are entitled. And the additional Title IX guidance will provide more clarity for both students and schools."

- Generation Progress Executive Director Anne Johnson

"Today, we have real reason to hope that change is coming and that the tides are turning on a national culture that has tolerated sexual violence on campus. We feel supported by an Administration that refuses to stand by while the dreams of so many young women are crushed by these traumatic experiences. We have more than words of sympathy to rely on here—we have real concrete action steps."

National Alliance To End Sexual Violence President Monika Johnson Hostler

"AAUW applauds the Obama administration for taking a strong and principled stand in the task force report. This report reflects that commitment and outlines necessary steps to address the epidemic of sexual violence at our college and universities …The creation of NotAlone.gov has been an AAUW priority because it will compile scattered best-practice resources, information, and enforcement tools in one easy-to-use location. It is our hope that this can be a game-changer when it comes to transparency and awareness."

- American Association Of University Women VP Of Government Relations Lisa Maatz

"Today’s comprehensive recommendations are a critical step in the right direction to make colleges safer places for all students. The Administration's commitment to increase resources to help colleges and universities develop and implement prevention programs – and assist in effectively handling sexual assault when it occurs – sends a powerful message to everyone: sexual assault will no longer be swept under the rug or tolerated."

- National Women's Law Center Vice-President for Education and Employment Fatima Goss Graves

"This is huge step in the right direction for survivors of sexual assault, and for college students everywhere. We are thrilled that the White House is taking strong steps in the fight against rape on campuses, but these recommendations must be the first--not the last--step in the actions needed to tackle a brutal epidemic. It is up to college administrators, and local law enforcement and students nationwide to help curb the exploding number of sexual assaults on college campuses."

- Ultraviolet Co-Founder Nita Chaudhary

"The price of a college education should never include a one in five chance of being sexually assaulted. I am pleased the Task Force recommended the important initial step of a mandatory survey, which has consistently been the number one request of student survivors and advocates. But for these reforms to have a lasting effect to keep our students safe, Congress needs to act."

- Sen. Gillibrand

"Everybody needs to be all-in on this fight, and the White House has shown great leadership in putting this together. These recommendations are strong—they will be a critical part of our efforts moving forward, and I look forward to working closely with the White House on legislation to better protect our students and ensure perpetrators aren’t getting a free pass. Because no young person suffering the results of a crime as personal and traumatic as sexual assault should feel like they’re on their own."

- Sen. McCaskill

"This plan is an excellent start – a promising blueprint for addressing the scourge of sexual assault on college campuses."

- Sen. Blumenthal


Learn more:

Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls. Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
Related Topics: Violence Prevention, Women
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