Preventing Sexual Assault on College Campuses in the United States

  • Mellissa WithersEmail author


Sexual assault of female college students is recognized as a serious public health problem in the United States (US). Available data on sexual assault likely underestimate the true scope of the problem. However, research shows that about one in five women experiences sexual assault while in college and that most of these assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim. In the Title IX, a law passed in 1972, requires colleges and universities to respond to and remedy hostile educational environments, including those related to sexual misconduct. In addition to Title IX, the US government instituted several federal laws and programs to address the problem. As of 2016, there were more than 200 institutions under federal investigation for mishandlings of sexual misconduct cases. However, advocate groups have called upon the government to mandate more accountability of colleges to investigate such crimes and to enforce penalties for non-compliance. Several recent high-profile cases have called attention to the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct in American society, leading to global movements such as the #MeToo campaign. While these are signs of progress, more must clearly be done to ensure that students are provided with safe learning environments at college campuses throughout the country. This chapter delineates the scope of sexual assault among college students and outlines the recent and historical steps that have been taken to address the problem. Specifically, this case analyzes the US government’s leadership role in mandating increased reporting and investigation of these crimes by colleges and universities.


Violence College Campuses Rape Sexual assault United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keck School of Medicine, USC Institute for Global HealthLos AngelesUSA

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