SaVE Our University Women
This past weekend, I spent a few days visiting my alma mater. As I walked around campus, I saw familiar places and faces – I ate at my old favorite restaurants and caught up with friends. What I wasn’t thinking about while walking around campus was that 20% to 25% of college women have experienced rape or attempted rape during their college years. What I wasn’t thinking about was that at a school the size of my 5,000 undergrad student school, statistics would predict that almost 200 rapes would occur annually. What I wasn’t thinking about was that women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, at a rate almost triple the national average.
The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act could help combat some of these startling statistics. This bill would address sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking at institutions of higher learning by requiring transparency of information, prevention programs and assistance for victims. While this legislation was included in the Violence Against Women Act that passed the Senate earlier this month, it was not in the version proposed in the House of Representatives this week.
As part of my weekend celebrations, I attended Purim festivities at my university’s Hillel. A lot of themes from the story of Purim resonate with our goals of creating a culture in which we stand up for those in our community who are in danger, and in which women are free to exercise their own power and autonomy. An inclusive Violence Against Women Act would be a start toward achieving these ends, and in protecting the women who I encountered on my college campus this weekend as well as their thousands of peers across the country.