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Safe Harbor

Organized by: Kingsley Hooker

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THE STORY:

Every so often we have the opportunity to do something really remarkable. We now have the chance to seize the day and address a matter so critical that it begs the question as to why we haven't thought of it before. I refer to the epidemic of sexual assaults on our young college women. The statistics are staggering. Of the 21,800,000 college students in America, 13,080,000 are women. Incredibly, it is estimated that 20% have been sexually assaulted. That is 2,616,000. Of these only 12.5% are reported or 327,000 as opposed to 55% of domestic assaults. I must confess that I was in disbelief that such predatory behavior could be taking place without more notice being taken. One must consider that colleges and universities must have a terribly difficult time grappling with these matters given the social and political ramifications. It becomes very complex when one considers what might happen if a person or persons are wrongly accused as was the case of those on the Duke lacrosse team. A young man's life and career could be ruined by a false accusation. A young woman's life could be made unbearable if she reports a young man who is subsequently expelled. No doubt these are some of the reasons so few sexual assaults are reported. A code of silence may well prevail. Yet, we must act, and many are now realizing that not to do so will only encourage an escalation of our current condition. That would include those intimidated by the complexity of the matter. It is a lot less complex when we think about it. And there are the cynics who would suggest that it has always been this way. I do not think that any thinking person will maintain that it always has been so. So, what do we do? We should first of all approach colleges and universities in a friendly and professional manner. To become investigative and confrontational would be self defeating. We should declare that our avowed purpose is to help colleges and universities create a safe harbor for the children who are entrusted by their parents to these institutions in parents' quest to have their children become well educated young adults. Safe Harbor is dedicated to the provision of a safe, healthy, and intellectual atmosphere to those who aspire to higher education in every sense of the word. Colleges and universities would be encouraged to go on record as to how they plan to address these matters. Further, an alliance of colleges should be created that would enable these institutions to communicate with one another and the public as to just how creative they have been in their approach. They could do what they do best: teach and, I daresay, even compete with one another as to which institution can b e most creative in its approach. It is a matter of learning, of enlightenment. That is what parents expect and what they should indeed receive when they send their sons and daughters off to college. It is a matter of trust. They trust that they will be sending their children to an environment that will be most creatively providing the atmosphere that will engender an enlightened transition from child to young adult. It will be a manifestation of the best of us. Everybody will benefit. It is the right thing to do. It is real and permanent good. Respectfully submitted, Kingsley Hooker, MA University of Chicago,'73 Residence: Memphis, TN

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Kingsley Hooker

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