The rise of sexual assault on campuses is a major national concern, but not just for students.
It’s a serious issue for everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, or sexual orientation.
Read more about the topic at The Globe and Mail.
But the topic of sexual violence on campus has been largely neglected by mainstream news organizations.
And this is troubling, according to a new report from The Globe & Mail.
The news organization examined more than 2,000 articles published in the U.S. over a six-year period and found that almost 90 per cent of the stories did not feature a clear picture of the prevalence of sexual assaults on campuses.
“It’s not a subject that is being reported,” said Alexandra Cunha, the executive director of the Canadian Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
“There are so many ways that people are being sexually assaulted, it’s a topic that has been marginalized in many of the news outlets.”
While there are a number of ways to describe sexual violence, Cunhal said it’s important to remember that it is often not the perpetrator who commits the crime.
Rather, sexual assault often happens to someone who is not aware of the severity of the abuse they are facing.
“You’re not necessarily saying, ‘I’m not going to tell you about this,’ but if it’s something that’s being done to you, you have to say it,” she said.
“So we are going to be speaking about it more than ever.”
Cunha is not the only person in Canada who is concerned about the media’s neglect of the issue.
A number of studies have been published recently that show the media tends to focus on the symptoms rather than the underlying causes.
That has led some experts to call for a greater focus on prevention and reporting of sexual and gender-based violence.
“We need to have this conversation about the violence that’s happening, we need to be doing everything we can to make sure that this is not happening to women and girls,” said Cunham.
“We need better information on the statistics and on the numbers.
We need to talk about what is happening to students and how we can stop this happening to them.”
A ‘dynamite’ spike in sexual assaultsOn the surface, the problem of sexual abuse on campus appears to be relatively rare, as reported sexual assault rates are low.
But experts say there are many other factors at play.
For one, sexual assaults are not reported to police because the victim does not want to report the assault.
And while sexual assault is a crime, it is not one that is often investigated by the police.
“There’s not much police are doing about it,” said Catherine McPherson, a sexual assault expert with the University of Ottawa.
“So what they’re doing is trying to identify perpetrators.
That’s what we’re talking about.”
It’s important for the media to report on the epidemic of sexual misconduct, as well, she said, but the focus should not be on what’s happening on campus.
“What we really need is the information that’s out there, that people can get,” McPhearson said.
“If they have information, they’re going to use it.”
“The media needs to be more engaged in this issue.”
In fact, Cunnha noted, the media can be a crucial part of addressing the problem.
“The fact that the media are reporting on this, the fact that they’re getting involved and taking action is vital, but they need to take a broader perspective,” she added.
“They need to understand what’s going on, and they need the community involved.”
The report found that a lack of access to statistics on sexual assault in universities was a major problem.
The issue was also exacerbated by the fact the reporting process is not well-suited to tackling the problem at the local level.
“That’s one of the things we’re seeing with the university and the news media, that they are not doing a lot of research on the issues,” McConah said.
And while there are measures in place to help prevent sexual violence at colleges and universities, it has not been as effective as it could be.
The Globe andamp;Mail has reached out to the Office of the Registrar of Students for comment on the study and will update this story when we hear back.