Sexual assault on college campuses is a real problem. As many as a quarter of women in US colleges will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during her time in school. Nearly 90% of those women know their attacker. And despite pervasive myths about “date rape” being a simple misunderstanding between two good kids, the reality is that most rapes on campus are committed by a small handful of predatory male rapists.
Yet women on college campuses are still treated to rape-prevention advice like “don’t walk alone at night!”, “always carry cab fare!”, “don’t wear anything too provocative!” and “don’t drink too much!”
That advice isn’t working. It centres on stranger-danger and ignores the reality that the real problem is a small number of student criminals who commit assaults but are routinely protected – by friends on campus, by social myths about rape that shift the blame to women or emphasise “miscommunication”, and sometimes by the college itself.