Silence and abuse on college campuses

The tragic abuses at Penn State and their aftermath are no longer news to the nation. And the event may not, on the surface, seem related to JWI’s particular mission. After all, our work with colleges pertains to protecting young women on campuses nationwide. But when we read about the Penn State case, the underlying story is all too familiar. This is another tragic illustration of the fact that there are no innocent bystanders when it comes to abuse.

While this is the story of what happened to defenseless boys, it’s still the culture of silence so pervasive on college campuses that allowed it to happen – and allows countless young women to be victimized (and re-victimized), often with little or no recourse, across the United States. According to a report based on a national study by the Center for Public Integrity, more than 20% of college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape by the time they graduate – and 95 percent of victims remain silent.

We encourage you to talk with the teens in your life — girls and boys, dating or not-quite-there-yet — about dating abuse. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation.

We send heartfelt healing wishes to the children abused by the former Penn State coach and their families.


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