Students: Colleges lax on sex assaults

Dozens gathered outside Boston City Hall yesterday calling for broken silence about sexual violence on college campuses.

Some colleges and universities are not adhering to mandates that dictate how they need to respond to acts of sexual violence and need to do more, advocates said yesterday.  

“In some cases, colleges are not maintaining the minimum requirements by law,” said Peggy Barrett, a director with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

Barrett spoke along with city Councilors Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley before a rally with dozens of students who called for schools to improve their handling of sexual assaults.

Some universities take too long to investigate the incidents, they said, and at other institutions there is a culture around drinking that allows for students to sometimes get away with sexual assault.

Pressley, who often described herself as a survivor of sexual assault before revealing last month she was raped as a student at Boston University, said she wants to partner with the colleges to “set high class standards” in dealing with rape.

Less support at smaller schools

Sabrina Andrews is also trying to change the attitude toward rape. 

The third-year New England School of Law student spoke about the efforts being made to lend support at smaller schools, which usually lack the resources to handle sexual violence and help survivors.

“Typically at small schools there’s nothing,” she said, adding there is not a lot of community support for survivors at smaller schools.

Within the court system, she’s pushing for less use of hypersexualized words when describing a rape case and allowing survivors to share their feelings in their own words.



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