The horrific volume of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses is not only a reflection of the wickedness in individual assailants’ hearts. It is the fruit of a campus culture awash in sexual immorality
Though perpetually an issue at colleges and universities, the blight of rape was highlighted Jan. 27 by the conviction of two former Vanderbilt University football players for sexually assaulting an unconscious female student in 2013.
These men, having been found guilty by jury trial, deserve to be punished in accordance with the law.
But there is more that must be said. During the trial, one defendant’s attorney argued that the “university’s culture of hard drinking and easy hookups” contributed to his client’s behavior, The New York Times reported. Though the claim “infuriated” many Vanderbilt students who defend their school’s “party culture,” according to the Times, and though the claim does not excuse his client’s behavior, sociological data and scripture suggest that the attorney may be on to something.
Consider the sociological data first. In December 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report stating that the rate of sexual assault among college-age females is three times higher than among non-college-age women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half of those binge drink. Combine with that statistics reported by Ohio State University researcher Morgan Van Epp that 70 percent of college males and 60 percent of college females report becoming sexually active before age 17.
Sexual promiscuity seems to be embraced officially at some college campuses with “Sex Week” occurring at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Northeastern, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University and Washington University among others, the Times reported. Typically sex weeks feature instruction on sexual health and pleasure, according to the Times.
Sexual assault seems a predictable outcome of this milieu, with young women as its most frequently abused victims.
Yet when as many as 25 percent of women in U.S. higher educational institutions will be victims of rape or attempted rape, according to a National Institute of Justice report, the problem is more than a few deviant assailants. A culture of immorality surrounding the offenders appears to help fuel their misdeeds.
Any lasting solution to sexual assault on college campuses must address the underlying culture in which drunkenness and illicit sex are viewed as permissible.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)
University party culture contributes to high numbers of rape February 3 2015 by David Roach, Baptist Press