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Candice Jackson quickly and appropriately retracted her remarks, but her comments unintentionally highlighted the practical limits of a federal approach to the tragedy of campus sexual assault.—Twenty-five percent of sexual assault victims say they were drunk or otherwise unable to provide consent or stop the attack from happening.—Just 24 percent of sexual assault victims say physical force was used against them. Department of Education’s top civil-rights official set off a firestorm when she told the New York Times — erroneously — that 90 percent of college sexual assault cases “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk’” or post-relationship regret.
Watson, D-Austin, said he hoped the passage of his bills would help empower sexual assault survivors.More-innovative approaches that focus on bystander intervention, securing individual dignity, and directly addressing the harm created by assault would result in the cultural and procedural shifts necessary to reduce campus sexual assault.To be sure, Candice Jackson’s comments were ill-informed — in fact statistically wrong.Indeed, the federal government’s primary strategy has been to lower evidentiary standards to secure more convictions rather than to support alternative approaches that may do a better job of holding offenders accountable for their actions and changing campus culture.This is not to suggest that the efforts to engage the federal government in addressing college sexual assault through Title IX were wasted efforts.
“It's hard to hear these very brave young women come forward and talk about the horrible situations they went through.