Sexual violence is running rampant across every portion of the U.S. Millions of adults, teens and children are involved every year. 

Young women, 18-24, are at the highest risk of victimization, according to the CDC. According to numerous studies, 1 in 5 college women experience sexual violence. It’s even worse for non-college women; 1 in 4 experience sexual violence.

Ninety percent of adult victims are females – 70 percent likely knew their attacker. Forty-five percent were acquaintances and 25% were either a current or former spouse or dating partner. 

How do we prevent sexual violence and reduce the numbers?

First, since most sexual abusers were themselves sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused as children, we believe our nation must teach children to tell on anyone who tries to touch them inappropriately, and then ensure all sexually abused children receive the therapy they receive to overcome what they experienced. if we don’t, chances are that they will also become sexual abusers.  

Boys and girls in middle and high school must be taught in their homes, schools, churches and extracurricular activities that they should never touch anyone else without their permission. That includes hugging, which many may see as harmless and friendly, but can easily lead to unintentional or intentional touching and groping, as sex drives increase.  

As Vice President Joe Biden said in 2014, as he and President Obama launched their “It’s On Us” campaign on college campuses, “We have to change the culture.” We agree. We can no longer just stand by. We must intervene. When we see a questionable situation, we must speak up. So-called locker-room talk about females must stop. College males should respect females and stop treating them like sexual objects. College females should not lose control and place themselves in high-risk situations.  

Finally we can no longer allow colleges and universities to handle sexual complaints on campus. Too often police are not called and a committee of students and advisory staff judge whether a student has committed  a sexual offense. Schools that do so generally are more concerned with protecting their reputations than protecting victims and enforcing the law.