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Task Force Hopes To Decrease Sex Assaults On Campuses

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sexual assault is becoming an epidemic on college campuses. Now the White House is fighting back, demanding colleges crack down on campus assaults.

Meghan McCorkell has more on what officials are doing.

The president has formed a White House task force to protect students from sexual assault to try to help schools respond to the problem.

“Many of our schools just aren’t safe,” said Vice President Joe Biden.

According to a new White House report, one in five women is sexually assaulted in college. Those between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest rates of sexual violence by someone they know.

“It’s an extremely prevalent problem,” said Amanda Cardone Luyben.

She is with Turnaround, a Baltimore group that provides counseling to sex assault victims and says many of their clients are local college students.

“I think there is a sexual assault culture on college campuses. I think that young women go to college and expect that this might happen to them,” she said.

Students say it is an issue.

“I’ve had fraternity men myself try and force themselves on me and touch me sexually at parties,” said student Meagan Nelson.

With a dozen colleges in Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake supports the president’s efforts.

“Make sure that young women know that they have the right to say no and mean it and that we have their backs,” she said.

The White House is asking all colleges to survey students next year to gauge the scope of sexual assault on college campuses. They also want better training for victims’ advocates, for schools to ensure victims’ confidentiality and conduct better investigations so campus culture changes for good.

The White House plans to provide schools with guidelines for effective sexual misconduct policies.

Turnaround has a 24-hour hotline for sexual assault victims. That number is 443-279-0379. For more information, click here.

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