There's A Business Case For Stopping Campus Sexual Assault

What Can You Do to Help?d4b296ef3175001fe4f2a1e74e44bddf-origina

Image courtesy of Chase Carter.

By Cliff Leek. Sexual assault is an undeniable problem on America’s college campuses. A recent example that many are familiar with is the case of Brock Turner, a former Stanford student who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman and sentenced to only six months of jail time.

High-profile cases like the one at Stanford are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about one in five undergraduate women will experience sexual assault in a given year.

Because so many of us are far removed from college campuses, it can be easy to miss what is happening. It’s important to realize that the problem isn’t as distant as it may seem. The consequences of the campus sexual assault epidemic reach far beyond colleges and universities, shaping inequality in our workplaces.

One of the most common refrains in workplace inequality discussions is the pipeline—the idea that there simply aren’t enough qualified women to hire or promote into high-prestige and high-paying jobs. (Before moving on, let’s acknowledge that the workplace inequality problem is much bigger than just a pipeline issue.)

A college education is a crucial element of professional development for most high-paying and high-prestige jobs in major companies today, so examining what happens in college should be a part of our pipeline investigation. It quickly becomes difficult to have a conversation about the pipeline without talking about sexual assault because experiencing sexual assault is linked to missing classes, declining academic performance, and even dropping out of college, which can prevent women from achieving their full potential academically and professionally.

What can you do about this problem? Here are some ideas:
  • Instead of (or in addition to) donating to the general funds or athletic department of your alma mater, make donations specifically to student services for survivors of sexual violence or to programs on campus that seek to prevent sexual violence.
  • Consider donating to the local women’s crisis center that services the community your alma mater is in. Those centers provide hotlines and counseling for survivors, and may be able to help students continue to succeed after experiencing sexual violence.
  • Don’t be silent. Talk to co-workers, friends, and family about how big of an issue sexual violence at colleges and universities is and how it reaches far beyond college campuses.
  • Be conscious of rape culture and overcome the discomfort of calling out misogyny.
What else can we do address this problem?

d8a11676c36532306c60e9bc9abf8387-huge-10Cliff Leek is the MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Research Fellow. He is also a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Stony Brook University (SUNY). He has worked as Prevention Specialist for the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and as a consultant for a variety of gender-focused non-profits. Cliff is currently writing his dissertation on the growth patterns and effectiveness of organizations seeking to engage men and boys in gender justice work around the world.  He is also a founding editor of, a blog that connects activist and scholarly work on men and masculinities.

Posted by Jared Cline on Aug 2, 2016 10:38 AM America/New_York

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