MIT’s self-reported rate of sexual assault is nearly 17% for undergraduate women, comparable to the 19% overall statistic. For some reason I was under the impression that MIT didn’t have as big a sexual assault problem as other schools, but it’s clear that that impression was blatantly false.
MIT’s proposed next-steps:
And I invite MIT students, faculty and staff to send questions that they would like addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work together to answer these questions and mine the survey data for new insights. Results will be posted online.In the meantime, we have begun taking action based on what we know so far:
- We are increasing staff to respond to those who experience sexual assault, and finding new ways to let students know where they can turn for help.
- To remove barriers that may prevent people from seeking help, we are revamping both procedures for reporting complaints and processes for addressing reported complaints.
- We are committed to building additional options for peer involvement in education.
- We have launched a Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Task Force.
- We are doing more to teach students about effective “bystander intervention.”
- We need to help students understand and handle the complex, sometimes unpredictable psychological impact of unwanted sexual behavior.
- We are stepping up education around the links between alcohol, drugs and sexual assault.These initiatives represent just the beginning of what we need to do. In the coming months, I will work with the community to continue to learn from the survey results and translate those findings into action. If you have ideas now about how we can reduce the incidence of sexual misconduct on our campus and improve the support we offer when it does occur, I urge you to let me know at email@example.com.
Looks like a good set of initiatives, but it’s up to us to make sure that they are followed through. And the question must be asked: can the problem of sexual assault truly be solved if underlying institutional sexism and misogyny isn’t addressed? Are these seven action steps enough?
reif: “sexual assault violates our core mit values. it has no place here.”