Campuses must act to prevent sex assault by athletes

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

As the new school year begins, so too does the excitement of fall sports. As a lifelong athlete and fan, I look forward to attending games and matches, and as an educator, I know the power of athletics to teach valuable life lessons. Unfortunately, too many of our collegiate athletes are making dangerous choices that position them not as role models to younger athletes but as teachers of reprehensible behavior. Sexual assault ranks among the crimes most frequently perpetrated by athletes.

Here is just a sampling: In May 2013, four Morehouse College athletes were arrested for two separate sexual assaults. In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation at the University of Montana, citing 11 sexual assaults reportedly committed by student athletes in an 18-month period. In August 2010, a female student reported being sexually assaulted by a Notre Dame athlete. Campus police did nothing with her report for two weeks, during which time she committed suicide. More globally, Benedict and Crosset found that one in three sexual assaults occurring on campuses are committed by athletes. Further, the same authors found that student athletes perpetrated almost six times more sexual assaults than their collegiate peers.

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