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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-22-14

FMF Applauds White House Initiative to Prevent Campus Rape

WASHINGTON — Feminist Majority Foundation today applauds President Barack Obama and the White House Council on Women and Girls for taking concrete steps to prevent and respond to the national epidemic campus sexual violence.

Today, President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum creating a task force of cabinet officials to come up with recommendations for universities to prevent campus rape and for federal agencies to hold accountable schools that don’t adequately address sexual violence.

The White House also released a report, entitled "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action," that highlights what a rampant problem campus rape is: It notes that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted in college, only 12 percent of survivors report the abuse and that no one in America is more at risk of being raped than college women.

"This is a momentous day for the movement to end violence against women and, in particular, campus rape," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. "Sexual assault is an issue that is affecting millions of young women, yet they are often forced to deal with it silently because of the shame and stigma surrounding it. By creating this task force, President Obama and the White House are sending a strong message to survivors: 'You do not have to deal with this by yourself.' We look forward to reviewing the task force’s recommendations in 90 days."

In October, Feminist Majority Foundation's Campus Program launched a Campaign to End Campus Sexual Violence – an online toolkit that gives students resources to educate others on sexual assault and create an anti-violence movement.

The Feminist Majority Foundation also led a successful campaign in 2012 with the Women's Law Project, which resulted in the modernization of the FBI Uniform Crime Report definition of rape. The new definition, as it appears on the FBI website, is: "Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."

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