January 22nd, 2014
03:56 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama steps up action against college sex violence

Washington (CNN) – A spike in sexual assaults on America’s college campuses is unacceptable and must end, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday as he unveiled a new effort to stem rapes and other crimes nationwide.

“Sexual violence…threatens the entire country,” Obama said, citing a report from a White House-convened council that shows nearly 1 in 5 women, totaling 22 million altogether, have been raped in their lifetime – and that women in college settings were at particularly high risk for sexual assault.

While Obama has spoken forcefully in the past about ending sexual assault in the armed forces, the subject of college campus rape has received less attention from the White House, despite high-profile cases nationwide.

“These young women worked so hard just to get into college. Often their parents are doing everything they can to help them pay for it, so when they finally make it there, only to be assaulted, that is not just a nightmare for them and their families, it's an affront to everything they've worked so hard to achieve. It's totally unacceptable,” Obama said at the White House.

The report, released Wednesday by the White House Council on Women and Girls, states that “dynamics of college life appear to fuel the problem” of campus sex crimes – including the prevalent use of alcohol and drugs. Many victims know the perpetrator of the assault.

“Our schools need to be places where our young people feel secure and confident as they prepare to go as far as their God-given talents can carry them,” Obama said at the event Wednesday.

He later signed a presidential memorandum that gives a task force of administration officials three months to develop ways to cut down on sexual violence and increase awareness of the problem. Last year, Obama told top military brass they had a year to show improvement in preventing sexual assault in the armed forces.

During his remarks, the president said men and boys have a responsibility to help change a culture where sexual assault is so prevalent.

“We can do more to make sure that every young man out there, whether they're in junior high or high school or college or beyond, understand what's expected of them and what it means to be a man and to intervene if they see somebody else acting inappropriately,” he said.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    You'd have to be a totally committed demogogue to oppose these sort of improvements.

    January 22, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Republicans usually go against the president on all issues. It will be interesting how they play this one.

    January 22, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Malory Archer

    Tampa Tim

    Republicans usually go against the president on all issues. It will be interesting how they play this one.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He's only doing it to draw attention from all his "scandals". ;-)

    January 22, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. chrissy

    I know right? Lol @ Tampa Tim and @ Rudy NYC, i bet they figure out a way though!

    January 22, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. just saying

    a real top priority as the country goes down the tubes. was the thousands of laws against rape not enough? this is just more bs politics to get the obamacare fiasco out of the news.

    January 22, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Mallory, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for proving our point just spewing hate.

    January 22, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    The country is not going down the tubes. We were at the bottom in 2008. Now our auto industry is doing well, housing is rebounding, we are out of one republican war, the market has doubled in 5 years, 8 million jobs have been created, and over 13 million uninsured now have health insurance. Compare that to the third term of Herbert Hoover, which thankfully ended in 2008.

    January 22, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Thomas

    @just saying
    a real top priority as the country goes down the tubes. was the thousands of laws against rape not enough? this is just more bs politics to get the obamacare fiasco out of the news.

    =======

    Will you ever acknowledge the damage the GOP , Republican party did to our mental health system since Ronald Reagan ?

    January 22, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    To see how much conservatives are behind a lot of the violence against women: Google for "slap" "Hillary" game. It is a joke to them.

    January 22, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    a real top priority as the country goes down the tubes. was the thousands of laws against rape not enough? this is just more bs politics to get the obamacare fiasco out of the news.
    ***********************
    We have a winner on the totally committed demagogue award. I'm sure he would deny funding for those laws on the pretext of reducing the debt as well.

    January 22, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. chrissy

    Well you can certainly see by some of the posts here, where the GOTP priorities lay! The basic reason our economy still stinks is because THEY cant get past their hatred of our POTUS! If their primary goal wasnt to make sure he failed they would have absolutely no reason to get up every day! Sheesh!

    January 22, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "a real top priority as the country goes down the tubes. was the thousands of laws against rape not enough? this is just more bs politics to get the obamacare fiasco out of the news."

    I sure hope the rest of the GOPers/Teatrolls respond that way. Obama should start asking you guys if you'd like your rope to be hemp or nylon in the future. Keep up the wonderful outreach...you're doing great.

    January 22, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. YoonYoungJo

    One of the major problems is probably the alchohol and drug use in colleges. Most people who think college, think parties.

    January 22, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |