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Campus Sexual Assault

, 144 pages
February 2016



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Campus Sexual Assault

College Women Respond


A 2014 report issued by the White House Council on Women and Girls included the alarming statistic that one in five female college students in the United States experience some form of campus sexual assault. Despite more than fifty years of anti-rape activism and over two decades of federal legislation regarding campus sexual violence, sexual assault on American college and university campuses remains prevalent, under-reported, and poorly understood. A principle reason for this lack of understanding is that the voices of women who have experienced campus sexual assault have been largely absent from academic discourse about the issue.

In Campus Sexual Assault, Lauren J. Germain focuses attention on the post–sexual assault experiences of twenty-six college women. She reframes conversations about sexual violence and student agency on American college campuses by drawing insight directly from the stories of how survivors responded individually to attacks, as well as how and why peers, family members, and school, medical, and civil authorities were (or were not) engaged in addressing the crimes.

Germain weaves together women’s narratives to show the women not as victims per se, but as individuals with the power to overcome these traumatic experiences. Aimed at students, parents, faculty members, university leaders, service providers, and lawmakers, Campus Sexual Assault seeks to put an end to the silence around sexual trauma by giving voice to those closest to it and providing tools for others to hear with—and to act on.

Lauren J. Germain earned her PhD in higher education from the University of Virginia. She is the director of evaluation, assessment, and research at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

"Lauren Germain, gives voices to the statistics around sexual assault on college campuses. Centering on how these women expressed their agency after being assaulted, Germain caringly weaves their personal stories through her synthesis and explains what these women have in common. The insights shared in this book can enable colleges and universities to make campus safer and better respond to individuals after they have been assaulted. This is a must read for everyone working on a college campus."

"There is much to learn from Lauren Germain's response to the stories told to her by college women about the assault on their bodies. Their narratives are often fragmented and wandering, conveying to the reader psychological perplexity, and intense inner shame and emptiness. I understand the inarticulateness of their feelings, because I, too, once experienced the horror of an attempted assault. We need to identify with the stories in order to understand the healing process, not just of the women but of the men whose damaged egos lead them to inflict unutterable pain."

"For those interested in making college campuses safer places for women, Campus Sexual Assault: College Women Respond is a valuable guide in understanding both the challenges college and university women face in the aftermath of reporting rape and the processes of empowerment created to assist them. Lauren Germain’s examination of women’s actual experiences, perceptions, and behaviors points to the cultural shifts that must take place on campus to make them rape-free environments."

"Campus Sexual Assault provides in-depth insight into the post-assault experiences of college women. It frames women as agentic beings who conceptualize their experiences and cope with their assault in a multitude of ways. By highlighting the individual pathways for recovery, readers are offered a deeper understanding of how women adapt and move forward following sexual assault."

"Lauren Germain has written a powerful, important, and timely book that helps the reader understand the devastation caused by campus sexual assault... A must read for educators!"

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