Do you know what the Campus SaVE Act is? Do you know what the acronym stands for? I can honestly say that even as a parent I might not know were it not for my role at an education technology company. We provide online prevention courses around critical issues including sexual assault prevention.
Last March, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act, which included the Campus SaVE Act – new legislation that holds schools accountable for their handling of sexual assault on campus. I have good reason to be interested in the Campus SaVE Act, two reasons in fact: my 16 and 21-year-old daughters.
My wife and I have taught our girls about the risk of sexual assault, we have taught them how to reduce the risk, and how to defend themselves against potential perpetrators. I have watched my 16-year-old exhibit a pleasantly surprising amount of fierceness and ability in a self-defense class, and yet I worry.
I worry that even with this education, no matter how well informed, prepared, or trained they may be, there are still other factors in play that are out of their control. Chief among them is the college environment where the risk of sexual assault is the greatest. Under the Campus SaVE Act, colleges and universities have an obligation to provide prevention education to all students with an explicit emphasis on primary prevention, which is geared towards stopping perpetration rather than just preventing victimization.
As parents, we should know how our child’s school plans to both prevent and act in the instance of sexual assault, because its the right thing to do, and because the Campus SaVE Act requires it.
Just a few weeks ago, the President established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. It’s good to see the White House taking further action and driving urgency and support for higher education institutions to address the critical issues related to campus sexual assault. And as parents, we should be taking further action, too, and that includes making sure that others are holding up their end of the prevention bargain long after we’ve dragged our children to self defense classes or lectured them about real-world risks.
If you want to know whether your child’s school is compliant with the Campus SaVE Act, ask them. Look on the school website, call and find out. Ask them what they are doing to educate their students. Demand the level of accountability our children deserve. After all, that is what the Campus SaVE Act requires.