Local colleges react to White House proposals on campus sexual a - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local colleges react to White House proposals on campus sexual assault

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Awareness efforts from no less than the nation's vice president  are putting the number of campus sexual assaults into the spotlight.
Statistics show that one out of every five college women is the victim of some form of sexual assault. And those are just the numbers that are reported.
One out of five women in the U.S. is sexually assaulted in college. That's according to a report by the white house. But only 12 percent are reported.

The White House task force on sexual assault, recommends that schools identify trained, confidential victim's advocates, and conduct surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assaults on their campuses.  For the first time, the education department revealed a list of 55 colleges and universities being investigated, for how they handle campus sex assault claims.

Small colleges; state universities and some ivy league schools are included.  No Louisiana campus is included on that list. In fact in the most recent statistics available, local schools show few if any reported cases.

LSU-Shreveport, Centenary College, Northwestern State University and Bossier Parish Community College had no reported cases from 2011 and 2012.
Southern University Shreveport had one reported cases of a sexual offense in 2011. Grambling State University reported 3 forcible sexual offenses in 2011 and one in 2012. Louisiana Tech in Ruston reported one case on campus in 2012.

 "There has been an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses because we are all concerned with the safety and well fair of students that attend college," said Tina Feldt, Centenary College Director of counseling.

LSU Director of student development Paula Atkins said the university takes the issue seriously,and stresses the need to address underlying reasons for these assaults. "Sexual violence is prominent on college campuses partly because students have more freedom on their own. And some colleges have more of a substance abuse issue and so that sometimes increases the likelihood that sexual abuse will happen," said Atkins.

Despite a growing number of sexual assault victims who go to police, rape still remains one of the most under reported serious crimes.
"Men and women might feel a little bit of shame about sexual assault. Not knowing where the level of responsibility lies. They might feel embarrassed or shame because they don't want to come forward. Thy don't want to face the perpetrator on campus," said Atkins.

Schools often offer services to those who may become victims. "Here at Centenary College that is evident by the fact that we have a number of programs that help sexual assault victims and we also offer counseling through my department," said Feldt.

By way of prevention, Centenary College Chief of Police Eddie Walker says the campus is offering a course to teach women how to protect themselves both on and off the campus. "Just the basics, avoiding the dark spaces. Walking where you know there islightestg in groups and not letting a friend stray off," said Walker.

As part of the White House initiative,the Justice Department will help develop training programs in trauma care for school officers, and require schools to survey students on their experiences.  "It is all about the knowledge that we give these girls about sexual assault and just getting help. Because if the young lady that is a victim doesn't get help it is hard for her to become a survivor," said Walker.

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