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Is enough being done to curb sex assaults?

Years after being assaulted at BU, city councilor co-sponsors campus sexual assault order.

After being sexually assaulted as a Boston University undergraduate, Ayanna Pressley enrolled in night classes and eventually dropped out of school.

“The environment became too hostile for me to stay, because my attacker was socially known to me,” the 37-year-old city councilor admitted.

Her colleague, Felix G. Arroyo, called for a hearing yesterday on the lack of discipline doled out to college students deemed responsible for sexual assaults.

“The systems campuses have for dealing with it are not adequate,” said Gina Scaramella of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. “What we’re hoping is, by creating a context with a hearing, colleges can come together to learn from each other and better understand things that can be put in place.”

Those deemed responsible for alleged assaults often face little or no consequences and only about 5 percent of assaults that take place are reported, officials said.

“Universities do not want to be branded as unsafe places,” Pressley said. “I believe that’s a driving factor in why there isn’t any retribution or stricter penalties. This is something they should clamor to do so they can say, in fact, they are one of the safest [schools].

“There should just be a uniform process and policies and procedure for how these accusations and these crimes are handled.”

Pressley will lead the Rape Crises Center’s Walk for Change on April 10.

 
 
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