How higher educational institutions deal with reported incidents of sexual assault
Sociology, Criminology and Penology.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBased on an examination of 47 campus-police reports of sexual assaults at three Southwestern universities, this study identifies and documents the social conditions that frequently lead to and surround campus rape; by comparing these conditions with those found in several national studies, this researcher finds a number of consistencies in suspects' and victims' characteristics, location of the crime, date and time of occurrence, and substance abuse. In addition, this study documents elements of male domination and sex-role stereotyping, the influence of rape mythology, and a negotiation process in which victims engage before they conclude that they are victims and report the crime. The study also examines the way in which universities apply or do not apply their own codes of conduct to campus rape cases and the way in which the criminal-justice system manages such cases. Using the documentation in the 47 campus-police reports, this study finds patterns in the steps rape victims take, campus police procedures for presenting campus rapes to prosecutors, prosecutors' decision-making processes, and reasons given by prosecuting attorneys when they fail to prosecute student suspects. The pattern of failing to treat campus rape as a serious crime is consistent on university campuses and in the criminal justice system. The criminal-justice system seldom prosecutes, indicts, or sentences students suspected of rape, whereas those accused of other crimes are more frequently brought to justice. Likewise, university administrators impose only minimal, if any, sanctions against students identified as rapists. Finally, the study provides important information with which to understand the environment in which rape occurs and the gender biases on which both university administrations and the criminal-justice system base their assumptions, policies, programs, discipline, and justice. This information is presented so that those in academic and judicial authority can develop improved programs and strategies to prevent campus rape.
Degree ProgramGraduate College