Penn State scandal & how it influences you

I’m willing to bet that everyone has heard of the Penn State scandal, even if they don’t know all the details. The story probably leaves you absolutely  repulsed, but you may think that it doesn’t affect you. You’re wrong.

If you’re a woman who is in college, or you have a daughter, sister, cousin, friend or other family member in college, there’s something you need to know. Officials at Penn State knew about the sex abuse, and they chose to look the other way. They violated this thing called the Clery Act.

The Clery Act is a federal regulation that was enacted in 1990. It commands all colleges and universities to keep up a public log of all crimes reported to them. They must specify the nature of the crime (robbery, assault, rape, etc.), and when and where it occurred. It was created by the parents of  Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her dorm at Lehigh University in 1986.

The mission of the act is to caution potential students on of the endangerment they might face when they apply for schools. The problem is that many schools give false numbers because they don’t want to seem like they are an unsafe place to live or a dangerous place to get an education. “There has been a very serious problem with many schools that have never complied with the legislation,” says former New York City prosecutor Linda Fairstein.

Under the Clery Act, the government will refuse funding from schools who don’t report all crimes, but it’s challenging to enforce.  Many schools also try to influence women to not report crimes to the police, and to sugar coat the crimes if they do (sexual assault or misconduct instead of rape).

If you or a friend or relative have been a victim of a crime on campus, contact campus authorities as well as the local police. If  campus officials discourage you from reaching out to the local authorities, contact someone higher up on campus (like the dean of student affairs), to report that person.

Ms. Fairstein is reaching out to make college campuses safer places for women. If you need guidance or want to report a violation to the Clery Act, click here to email her.

Jeanne Ann Clery was raped and murdered while asleep in her residence hall room on April 5, 1986.

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6 thoughts on “Penn State scandal & how it influences you

  1. I remember when this happened. I’d just graduated high school the year before. I even had a friend whose mom was terrified for her to go to college because of this incident. You know, it’s stories like this that make me wonder how we can have leaders who’d rather just turn a blind eye. Not to throw fire on an already flammable subject, but I’m shocked at the fact that there are adults (men) out there who don’t have a basic understanding of rape and don’t want to acknowledge how often occurs, especially considering that violence is so pervasive in our society. And that those same people are trusted to be wise about the legislation they enact.

    • It happened before I was born, but I do think it’s very sad. I don’t think that I could agree with you more. They have medieval views on rape, especially when it comes to the rights of the victims.

      • Sad, isn’t it? Do something about that, would ya? 🙂 I have some experience with this subject and I cannot stress enough how important it is for smart young women to talk about it. I really like that you are using this forum to express your views on important topics. Fashion is great and all, but this? this is better. 🙂

      • I’m working on it, actually 🙂 I’m going to school for psychology and criminal justice to try to help do something about it. Thank you! That really means a lot 🙂

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