A prominent realm for sexual harassment: American colleges

The bottom line espoused in a recent media article on sexual harassment is that, while information made public on sexual assault at American college and university campuses might be sufficiently forthcoming, data regarding harassment is being withheld by educational officials.

In fact, notes the Huffington Post, important information concerning sexual harassment on campuses across the country is often purposefully guarded by college and university officials, who “are able to essentially hide the scrutiny from the public.”

That is bad for a number of reasons, say advocates for harassment victims.

Especially this one: Reportedly, a firm link connects harassment activities to violent acts of a sexual nature in many instances. One commentator in the above-cited article says that would-be and actual perpetrators of sexual violence, such as rape, often “test the waters” first to gauge a target’s reaction. Another points to a “continuum of violence” that commences with sexual harassment “and moves up the scale.”

Given that established nexus, a clear and very dark potential emerges on any campus where information concerning harassment-related conduct is buried by administrators who are more worried about their institution’s public image than about harassing behaviors engaged in by select individuals.

A recent Freedom of Information Act request resulted in reporters securing a list of schools identified by the federal government that are being investigated for assault and harassment-related acts committed by campus individuals. That list is lengthier than the one released publicly without a specific request for a comprehensive list.

The clear take away from that discrepancy is that, unless they have to, many learning institutions are intentionally burying adverse information.

Parents with college-age children might reasonably be concerned with such concealment.

Moreover, they might want to pose a few candid questions regarding sexual harassment and assault to officials they speak with at every college and university they are considering for their child.

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