Stanford Rape Case Raises Stakes in Debate Over Campus Sexual Assault

This week’s rape charges against a Stanford University star swimmer have intensified recent debates over sexual assaults on campus. The charges against Brock Turner, 19, arrive on the heels of increasing criticism of American universities over sexual violence on campus.

Turner, 19, was banned from campus after being charged this week with five felonies, including two counts of rape, following his alleged encounter with a woman he met on campus on January 18, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Turner’s alleged victim, who was not a student at the school, was reportedly drunk and had passed out before Turner carried out the alleged rape. He has since been banned from campus.

Yet Stanford students were not particularly shocked by news of the rape, according to media reports.

An independent study by Stanford law professor and sociologist Michele Landis Dauber found that just four of 175 reported sexual assault assaults between 1997 and 2009 were formally adjudicated, according to the Chronicle. Of those four cases, two of the alleged attackers were held responsible for their crimes. Professor Dauber said those numbers have improved slightly.

Stanford has reportedly introduced a new, mandatory course for incoming freshmen that teaches students how to recognize and deal with sexual assault. The school’s Office of Alcohol Policy and Education also has a promotional video that informs students about alcohol consumption.


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