xiii Preface My interest in learning more about sexual assault was originally born from the realization that many of my college students have experienced sexual violence, either while they were in col- lege or before they arrived. I am continuously impressed that students who have experienced trauma in this way not only want to learn more about rape and sexual assault but want to work toward eliminating rape culture altogether. That they can use their pain as both a motivation for change and as a source of strength is inspiring. Of course, the epidemic of sexual assault is not a new phenomenon. Nor is it singular to just college campuses. The unfortunate reality is that children and adults experi- ence sexual violence everywhere, be it at home or in public, at work or school, at church, or at camp. Victims come from all walks of life, as do perpetrators. And sexual assault hap- pens across the globe, making this a truly universal scourge of humankind. In many ways, the challenges we face in reducing sexual assault in America seem insurmountable. As this book will dis- cuss, not only are the rates of sexual assault perpetration high, but the likelihood of perpetrator accountability is low. Many states face a backlog of untested rape kits, many colleges and universities struggle to handle sexual assault appropriately, and we fail as a culture to teach the importance of consent in sexual activity. Vulnerable young women and girls are trafficked for sex, and our criminal justice system makes it difficult to hold perpetrators accountable. We seem to lack understanding as
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