President Obama today starts an initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, reports the Associated Press. The president is creating a task force to protect students from sexual assault, with a new White House report declaring that no one is more at risk of being raped or assaulted than college women. The report says 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.
The report was compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls. It says nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes, with victims more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse and a wide range of physical ailments, including chronic pain and diabetes. Rape’s prevalence is highest at college, fueled by drinking and drug use that can incapacitate victims. Obama is giving the task force of federal officials 90 days to come up with recommendations for colleges to prevent and respond to sexual assault, increase public awareness of each school’s track record and enhance coordination among federal agencies to hold schools accountable if they don’t confront the problem.