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A Modest Proposal to All Colleges Concerning Sexual Assault on Campus
It is chilling to see, in recent years, the statistics regarding the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. According to research, 1 in 4 women, over the course of their undergraduate studies, will be subjected to such violence; an alarming number, really (BestColleges, “Realities of Sexual Assault on Campus”). Even despite the fact that 90% of campus rape goes unreported, we are still aware of the fact that these young women, unable to defend themselves against the strong men that attend universities, are experiencing physical and emotional trauma too terrible to really put a finger on. The aftereffects of said assault can be devastating; self-harm, depression, and substance abuse are only a few that are experienced by the women in this situation. Both men and women, away from their homes for the first time, often get drunk on their freedom from their parents and lifelong friends; a recipe for disaster, as we can all agree. It is too much to ask, really, for men just out of high school, away from their homes and parents and all forms of accountability for the first time in their lives, to exercise extreme restraint when surrounded by pretty faces, all laughing, dancing, and having a good time. At parties and other social events, there is often a strong presence of alcohol, which, when partaken by said beauties, often inebriates them to the point of being unable to articulate themselves clearly enough to say “no”. They are unable to refuse the advances of a man who may be a close friend or even significant other of theirs, and what follows is disastrous; the consequences, for both parties, are irreversible.
As I considered the plight which plagues our nation, I discovered a scenario which prompted me to propose a similar solution to that the issue that permeates our campuses and injures our young adults in an irreparable way. In 2015, the University of Missouri proposed the idea of disallowing women from attending fraternity parties, or even entering fraternity houses, between the hours of 10 PM - 3 AM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (Coble, interview), in an attempt to combat the issue. However, I am unsure of how effective this small measure was, considering that the time passed since it was proposed has been more than enough to judge its viability. While the sentiment was good, my proposal seeks to put a definitive end to all sexual assault on college campuses, to protect the women of this country, and to provide for the men as well. Thus, I offer my suggestion; I am sure you will agree that it is not an altogether unreasonable solution to suggest prohibiting women from attending universities in the United States, until such a time as a better solution is found.
With the technological advances of today, women could easily attend classes online as opposed to being forced to relocate all of their belongings, leave their family behind, and attempt to navigate life on their own at the tender young age of 18 or 19 years old. There are several specific advantages to my solution, and as I list them, I am sure you will see my point of view.
Firstly, that it will, at once and without a doubt, eliminate totally the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. When there are no women on campus to interact with the men, there can be no violent interaction or altercations of any kind.
Secondly, colleges will be able to spend less money pouring into resources focused on preventing and helping victims in the aftermath of rape, as this will no longer be a problem haunting the institutions of higher education in this nation.
Thirdly, it will remove a temptation that young men currently face in the form of alluring faces of makeup, seductive clothing, and provocative dancing that they must constantly struggle to overcome. With this dreadful distraction removed from campus, they will be able to express themselves freely and have fun in a safe way, without fear of repercussions.
Fourthly, the smaller class sizes that would result from this change would allow them to focus more on their studies, which is, after all, the entire point of a college career. The expanded pool of resources, in the forms of increased professor interaction and intelligent classroom discussion, would greatly benefit not only those individuals, but also the United States a whole when they join the workforce.
Fifthly, the convenience of taking online college courses for women across the nation is beyond valuable. Technological advancements, in the form of virtual reality and other techniques, would become a priority as a result of the increased demand for online courses; the new research done to help include the women would greatly benefit the world.
Sixthly, the women would be completely free from their current fearful state in our universities, as they would continue to comfortably reside, upon graduation of their respective high schools, within the safety and care of their parent’s homes, until such time as they choose to marry or to move out of their own accord. Truly, this solution would free them from even the slightest chance that they may be assaulted while away at college.
Now, some may protest that it is unfair that the women be subjected to “lesser education” when taking online courses, or that they may miss out on the full college experience by not being allowed to attend a college in person. To their first point, I would cite the New York Daily News, which has said that the “acceptance of the degrees by employers is becoming more common” (Haynie, “What Employers Really Think of Your Online Bachelor’s Degree”). It will, in no way, prevent them from getting a job and being able to support themselves. Even highly prestigious universities such as MIT and Stanford offer online courses. As to the second point, I pose a question: if the “full college experience” comes with a 1 in 4 risk of sexual assault, is that really an experience you want to have?
I have thought long and hard about this subject, and I am convinced that all other arguments fall short of my easy and indisputably quick solution. No one can try to talk me into trying anything else, or speak of other keys; of increasing campus security; of increasing the availability and ease of reporting sexual assault so that more accurate numbers and solutions can be found; of putting into place long-term prevention education programs in order to shift the mindset of students; of initiating a great number of bystander intervention programs; of placing harsher limits and punishments for alcohol on campuses and enforcing rule-breaking more strictly; of educating boys on the meaning of affirmative consent, emphasizing not just “no means no”, but that when a young lady is too much intoxicated to speak coherently or declare for herself a resounding “yes”, to back off. Finally, of teaching adolescents how to respect the boundaries of their peers from a young age, and recognizing our country’s pressing need to address the problem in a major way.
Of these solutions, I have seen enough change in recent years to hope that these might soon become options for the future. But as where we are right now as a culture and as a people, I would venture to say that until some group or person can propose a more effective method than the one I have laid before you, I will humbly stick to my own opinion.
However, as I am, myself, a female who is only a year away from attending college, I could not hope to endorse the implementation of this proposal until after I graduate from college.
Cedar Springs, MI