Washington • President Barack Obama is launching an initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, turning the spotlight on a problem that has devastated millions of Americans yet rarely receives such White House attention.
Obama planned to sign a presidential memorandum Wednesday creating a task force to protect students from sexual assault, with a new White House report declaring that no one in America is more at risk of being raped or assaulted than college women. The report, "Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action," says that 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 and was being released Wednesday, but the White House provided an advance copy to The Associated Press. 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.