Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Research Blog #2: Scouting the Territory

My decision for my topic is Sexual Assault on campus. I believe that this is a serious topic that needs to be discussed within our community. Rape is a sensitive topic that not many are willing to bring up because of the various opinions of people. A huge controversy was found in the outcome of the case of Brock Turner at Stanford. He was a former Stanford University swimmer who took advantage of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and sexually assaulted her. An article I found contained the victims statement about the impact of her sexual assault on her life. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/stanford-rape-case-read-the-impact-statement-of-brock-turners-victim-a7222371.html
Sexual violence is very high amongst college students. College aged adults are at a very high risk for sexual violence, especially women. This article shows the statistics amongst college students and non college students. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence
People tend to believe that bad things could never happen to them, however, these statistics show the opposite. Violent crimes happen everywhere even sexual crimes. This article also shows how many rape cases are not reported to the police. Rape victims become ashamed of what happened and blame it on themselves. However, it was not their fault. 

This article specifically shows rape and sexual assault amongst college women only. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf


  1. Interesting that the government stats you cite suggest college students are less frequently victims of rape than the general population. Yet a lot of campus rape advocates suggest the opposite. Perhaps the definition of "rape" vs "sexual assault" (which can include many things) is at play here?

  2. The issue of campus sexual assault statistics itself could actually make an interesting topic, as many critics of the way sexual assaults are handled on campus begin by questioning the statistics or point to false statistics (from "fake news" sources) that show high numbers of false rape reports.

    Ultimately, you should find a particular angle to take on the topic of campus sexual assault. Previous students addressing the topic have focused on serial rapists in sexual assaults among college men, the feeling of entitlement in sexual assaults committed by athletes, and the issue of consent in campus sexual assaults that occur between regular "hookup partners." Each had a unique focus or set of issues it addressed, and each was very successful because of that.

    One way of finding an angle on the topic is to begin by identifying a particular case that interests you, and then researching the particular issues that arose in that case. It's especially good if you can find a case that is well documented with specific details made public -- such as the "mattress girl" case that the last student considered.

    It may be that you already know about a case, which is the one that got you interested in the topic to begin with. Or you could look for a case that has features that interest you, such as it being local to our area. There was a case at Rutgers that received fairly detailed consideration in The Targum that might interest you:

  3. The Brock Turner case is one that is very well documented, including with a famous statement by the victim, as you mention. That case raises lots of issues that lend themselves to a research project, including rape by college athletes, the widespread presence of alcohol or 'date rape drugs' in campus rapes, and the effects of rape on victims (many of whom end up withdrawing from school or dropping out of college completely after the rape). And I am sure that list is far from complete of topics that the Brock Turner case raises.

  4. If you are interested in looking at the stories of victims, there is a very detailed treatment of Allison Huguet's experiences following her rape in the book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. You can read the first chapter online, which introduces her case at the moment the perpetrator is arrested: