90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Sen. Claire McCaskill: “Women Need To Know When They Are Being Victimized”
Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., left, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte R-N.H., right, meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP)

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., left, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte R-N.H., right, meet with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP)

The new White House report on college sexual assault makes some for deep and depressing reading. The statistics are grim: estimates say that nearly one in five women are victims of sexual assault during their time in the American higher education system.

The report aims to change that statistic, but it won’t be easy. Our April 30 broadcast took the time to talk to advocates, reporters and change agents deeply involved in the campaign to help prevent and end college sexual assault. The entire hour is more than worth a listen, but we also were impressed with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who has made sexual assault prevention and education a real highlight of this legislative session.

“I have college-aged daughters who have told me, unfortunately there is way too common an attitude that women who find themselves in a position where they have been a victim of a felony crime that they second-guess themselves,” McCaskill told us.

“We haven’t really put the systems in place that support victims and empower them so that we can hold these perpetrators accountable, and that’s really what’s missing with this silent epidemic on college campuses…

“We see more victims in their freshman year than we see in their subsequent years. And a lot of it is, these young women have to learn when they’re being victimized. You don’t have to have perfect judgement to be a victim of a crime. Just because you drank too much doesn’t give anyone the right to commit a felony against you.”

McCaskill said her aim is to focus on both victim support and enforcement of regulations that already exist.

“When someone has sex with someone that has not consented…that’s a felony. We need to give these young women and young men who are victimized more information and more support so that they can face a process that frankly has been daunting.”

The Senator has also been in the headlines for her work on reducing military sexual assault — which, while similar to college sexual assault, also brings up entirely new layers of complexity — and for her ongoing survey that asks colleges and universities to standardize their reporting process for sexual assaults.

“I’m convinced that we will not really turn this corner until we put some of these perpetrators in prison and send a message that this is criminal behavior,” McCaskill said. “That will, in fact, empower victims, that will allow victims to understand that they were victims of a crime. It’s not pleasant to think in those terms but that’s what has to happen.”

What do you think? How can we create systems that not only support the victims of college sexual assault, but prevent that assault from happening in the first place?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 26, 2015
Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo, center, a former Evangelical Christian youth minister, and his wife, Marty, right, mingle with students as they wait for the start of a forum at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP)

More Americans are turning away from religion. We’ll look at how to live a moral life without it.

 
Feb 26, 2015
This Feb. 20, 2015 photo shows an arrangement of peanuts in New York. (AP)

New breakthroughs on peanut allergies – treatment and prevention. And a question: are we too clean for our own good? Plus: did giant gerbils from Asia really bring the bubonic plague to Europe?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment