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Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do about It Paperback – July 4, 2016
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Top Customer Reviews
Unsafe on Any Campus spends less time on what is generally known and understood, instead focusing on options which have either under explored or dismissed prematurely but could 1) bring greater resolution and a sense of closure to victims, or 2) help prevent assaults entirely.
Starting even before the point where an assault has begun, Unsafe examines the assumptions and misunderstandings which can lead to assault. The book outlines strategies for educating students regarding assessment of potential risk in social situations and how to reduce those risks without constricting social freedom. This kind of education is often aimed just at female students, but Staley also presses the need for men to be educated about their own attitudes and presumptions when interacting socially.
For situations where assault has already occurred, Unsafe doesn't shy away from the daunting fact that the overwhelming percentage of sexual assaults are not fully prosecuted through the court system. Staley explores some of the reasons for that, including the constraints of the legal system and the burden of evidence. But instead of only expressing outrage and disappointment, he proposes the use of Restorative Justice. (RJ is a mediated encounter between offender and offended which has been used in campus environments for conflict resolution in other areas such as theft.) In cases where the legal system's requirements would make full prosecution unlikely, RJ offers another avenue which would allow the victim to be heard in another kind of court and begin a more effective healing process.
While many books on sexual assault may have covered similar ground, I don't know of any other work which said those things so clearly and compassionately. I wasn't aware of the existence of RJ or the ways in which it could potentially be used to offer the victim options in addition to the overburdened and often inflexible legal system. I feel that the educational component could be really valuable for students, both male and female, who are approaching their college years to better prepare them for the environment and how to interact in safe, sane, and consensual ways.
I recommend this book particularly for parents of students about to enter the collegiate arena and for those colleges not already addressing these very real, damaging situations proactively.
Students, parents, law enforcement officers, university officials and even high school administrators read on. It’s time to implement solutions to a dilemma that is growing in our society and this book provides the first step in getting started.