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Obama steps up action targeting college sex violence against women

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WASHINGTON -- A spike in sexual assaults on America's college campuses is unacceptable and must end, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday as he unveiled a new effort to stem rapes and other crimes nationwide.

"Sexual violence...threatens the entire country," Obama said, citing a report from a White House-convened council that shows nearly 1 in 5 women, totaling 22 million altogether, have been raped in their lifetime -- and that women in college settings were at particularly high risk for sexual assault.

While Obama has spoken forcefully in the past about ending sexual assault in the armed forces, the subject of college campus rape has received less attention from the White House, despite high-profile cases nationwide.

"These young women worked so hard just to get into college. Often their parents are doing everything they can to help them pay for it, so when they finally make it there, only to be assaulted, that is not just a nightmare for them and their families, it's an affront to everything they've worked so hard to achieve. It's totally unacceptable," Obama said at the White House.

The report, released Wednesday by the White House Council on Women and Girls, states that "dynamics of college life appear to fuel the problem" of campus sex crimes -- including the prevalent use of alcohol and drugs. Many victims know the perpetrator of the assault.

See how the issue is being dealt with at the University of Denver in Julie Hayden's video report above.

"Our schools need to be places where our young people feel secure and confident as they prepare to go as far as their God-given talents can carry them," Obama said at the event Wednesday.

He later signed a presidential memorandum that gives a task force of administration officials three months to develop ways to cut down on sexual violence and increase awareness of the problem. Last year, Obama told top military brass they had a year to show improvement in preventing sexual assault in the armed forces.

During his remarks, the president said men and boys have a responsibility to help change a culture where sexual assault is so prevalent.

"We can do more to make sure that every young man out there, whether they're in junior high or high school or college or beyond, understand what's expected of them and what it means to be a man and to intervene if they see somebody else acting inappropriately," he said.

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  • Joyce Santifer

    I understand that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. However, the police should be handling this not The President of the United States. He should be focusing his attention on saving our country. This is an issue for police.

  • Rob

    Yet he would dsarm ever single one of those ladies. Can you imagine what could happen if these victims were allowed to CC? Yet he is one of the first to strip away the rights of law abiding citizens.

    Colleges all over the country force their students to give up personnal freedom and protection.

  • tee

    The commander and chief is a complete loser, has done nothing but ruin the country. The only good part of him when down the drain in the delivery room!!!

  • Test

    Every issue this man has addressed has gotten markedly worse. Unemployment is UP, poverty is UP, food stamps are UP, income disparity is UP.

    Government debt is UP, red tape is UP.

    Hope is not a plan, we don’t need change we need reform.

  • DR Commish

    “It’s why we have call boxes. It’s why we have safe zones. That’s why we have the whistles, because you just don’t know who you’re going to be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re going to be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop…pop a round at somebody.”

    Colorado Democrat Representative Joe Salazar

    Maybe those ladies who can’t menstruate, barf, or pee on demand should carry around fake blood, pepper spray, or…. perhaps be trained how to use, respect, and operate a hand gun????

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