Hit & Run

Cathy Reisenwitz on How Government Created the Campus Rape Crisis


Campus assault
Valeri Pizhanski / Foter

The Obama Administration recently released recommendations for strengthening the laws around protecting college students from harassment and sexual assault. The report, Not Alone, comes three months after the creation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Not Alone and its accompanying website, NotAlone.gov, recommends new practices for colleges and universities nationwide. Some of the recommendations aren't bad—more polling data can help fill in the gaps created by underreporting, prevention programs are probably worth a try. But ultimately none of the recommendations address the fundamental issue with on-campus rape, and leave intact a system that pressures colleges to take the place of law enforcement in investigating sexual assaults.

It's undeniably true that police botch rape cases horribly, notes Cathy Reisenwitz. They harass, intimidate, blame, and abuse victims, refuse to collect evidence or investigate, and allow rape kits to expire, untested by the thousands every year. But you know who does an even worse job than the professionals who are trained (however poorly) to deal with the crime? College administrators.