From early on, young women are taught behaviors that are supposed to help them avoid being victims of violence: Carry your keys like weapons. Avoid certain bars. Don’t leave your drinks unattended. Parry. Feint.
Connecticut is a state in need of a fix. In the awful event of a rape or sexual assault at a university or college there is no guarantee that the victim will be treated as she should be (“she” because the vast majority of campus rapes are committed by men, against women). The crime of rape is horrible. The reaction of schools is too often equally so. Earlier this month, the same day Hartford’s Harriet Beecher Stowe Center held a public conversation on campus violence, a state legislative committee approved a bill that would improve schools’ responses to rape and intimate partner violence on campuses.
In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which abolished racial discrimination in the armed services. There was significant pushback – within and outside the military – but by the end of the Korean War, most of the armed services were desegregated. We have not eliminated racism – not by a long shot – but Truman’s signature at least moved the ball down the field. And if the U.S. military wanted to, it could continue its tradition of being a leader of social change. According to Department of Defense (DOD) estimates, more than 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact occurred in the military in 2012, but just 238 incidents resulted in convictions.