Concord Monitor: Sexual assault prevention – at college and before – discussed at Kuster roundtable
To Olivia Carle, a New London native and rising sophomore at Tufts University, the emerging conversation about sexual assault and harassment on college campuses is appreciated – but she worries that, for many students, it’s coming too late.
“If prevention is done only on college campuses, it’s not going to have the effect it needs to have,” Carle said at a roundtable on campus sexual assault, hosted by U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster. “It needs to start much earlier.”
Carle said she knows this reality all too well, as someone who experienced sexual violence in college and sexual harassment in high school. While she’s spoken out against these issues – generally – Carle said yesterday’s roundtable was the first time she spoke publicly about her personal experiences.
If teenagers who harass or violate their peers go unchecked, Carle said, their behavior might continue – or become even more aggressive – when they get to college.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be about sex,” she said of pre-college consent instruction, “but it starts a conversation about respect for every human being.”
Yesterday’s conversation came on the heels of newly introduced bipartisan legislation – co-sponsored in the House by Kuster and in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte – aimed at holding colleges more accountable for their role in investigating sexual assault cases. The Campus Accountability and Safety Act would, among other things, require colleges to conduct annual surveys on sexual violence and publicize the results, as well as to take other steps to provide support for students who experience assault
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