Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Addressing Violence Against Women on College Campuses

reviewed by Sarah Jane Brubaker & Tammi Slovinsky - August 27, 2018

coverTitle: Addressing Violence Against Women on College Campuses
Author(s): Catherine Kaukinen, Michelle Miller, & Rachael A. Powers
Publisher: Temple University Press, Philadelphia
ISBN: 1439913765, Pages: 330, Year: 2017
Search for book at Amazon.com

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of research, policy, and practice regarding violence against women on college campuses. It not only provides historical and political contexts to the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that brought renewed attention to campus sexual assault and had major impacts on campus processes, it connects the DCL to Title IX, the Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Campus SaVE (Sexual Assault Violence Elimination) Act, and the White House Task Force. Scholars and practitioners working in this area have consistently noted the confusion surrounding these various policies and their implementation, and this book provides a much-needed resource that helps to clarify these issues. It also includes discussions of promising empirical and theoretical developments to help guide our research and practice endeavors moving forward, and identifies areas for future research.

The editors and contributors include the top scholars in the field, and their knowledge and expertise contribute to the high quality of the book. This book is useful to researchers, policy makers, practitioners and activists working in the field of gender violence, as well as to students, faculty and staff on college campuses. The book includes 18 chapters, a conclusion, and multiple figures and tables. Chapter One provides an overview of the book, as well as a very helpful timeline of federal legislation that has shaped campus responses to violence against women from 1965 to the present.

Part One provides an overview of the prevalence and contributing factors to violence against women on campus. Part Two focuses on legislation and other forms of federally mandated action that have shaped campus response to violence against women. In Chapter Eight, for example, Hughes, Miller, and Cook frame the historical context of the Campus SaVE Act, which amended the Clery Act in 2013 to enhance campus transparency, reinforce expectations in responding to violence, and require institutions to implement sexual violence prevention and awareness programs. Campus underreporting of campus crime has limited the scope of the Clery Act as a preventative tool, which also lacks evidence of efficacy.

Part Three focuses on preventing violence against women through knowledge, education, and changing norms. In Chapter Thirteen, for example, Lindquist and Krebs discuss campus climate surveys as a way for campuses to obtain a credible and clear picture of the prevalence of sexual assault in addition to other forms of interpersonal violence. Although the scope and extent of campus sexual violence have been studied previously, comparisons across campuses using standardized methods are few. The authors describe the framework of the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study, initiated in 2014 to increase methodological precision by developing a validated data collection instrument as well as standardized procedures to collect data. Of greatest value in this chapter are the researchers’ insights for how institutions can plan a survey, including logistics and resource considerations.

Part Four focuses on prevention challenges and opportunities. In Chapter Seventeen, for example, Smith challenges the notion that compliance is the road to eradicating sexual violence. In the attempt to avoid an Office of Civil Rights investigation, institutions are losing sight of the end goal. As with other chapters, the author traces the development of federal guidance and increased public scrutiny through the Department of Education, but also stresses the impact of the Department of Justice in holding institutions accountable for failure to address sexual violence. Moreover, the federal push for enhanced policy and response shifts the lens away from primary prevention. Smith also questions whether punishment-focused processes yield the best outcome for campuses and communities, offering restorative justice as a potential model. Since the Department of Education recently rescinded guidance prohibiting mediation, this discussion may expand in higher education circles.

The conclusion is a strong chapter, bringing together the most important findings and arguments of each chapter and making a call for institutions of higher education to draw on their strengths and assets to bring an end to violence against women on campuses. The authors point out challenges to addressing the problem, including the diversity of students’ experiences, barriers to reporting, and insufficient resources, but argue that the three pillars of academia, teaching, research, and service, all provide particular strategic opportunities for addressing this problem. They suggest that teaching can help change cultural beliefs and attitudes, that research can assist in evaluating programs, identifying best practices, and assessing campus climates, and that victims can be served and supported through collaborations across campuses and communities.

Overall, the book is a valuable and comprehensive resource on violence against women on college campuses that provides up-to-date, in-depth, and nuanced discussions of the relevant and complex policies, practices, research, and theory. Its discussion of implications for practice and research includes specific suggestions and recommendations that are straightforward and accessible.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 27, 2018
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22481, Date Accessed: 1/22/2022 4:18:07 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Sarah Brubaker
    Virginia Commonwealth University
    E-mail Author
    SARAH JANE BRUBAKER is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research and teaching focus on gender violence, sexual and reproductive health, juvenile justice, qualitative research, and sociological theory. She directs a post-baccalaureate degree program in Gender Violence Intervention and is writing a book based on the required course that she teaches entitled Theorizing Gender Violence. Dr. Brubaker’s recent research projects include a study of campus-based sexual assault victim advocates, a study of a therapeutic model recently implemented in a juvenile correctional facility, and a health needs assessment for low-income families in a housing project.
  • Tammi Slovinsky
    Virginia Commonwealth University
    E-mail Author
    TAMMI SLOVINSKY is Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students. She has served the VCU community since 2011 and has over 25 years’ experience collaborating with campus and community support and safety service providers such as law enforcement, prosecutors, forensic nurses and counselors on the issues of sexual and intimate partner violence.

    Between 2013 and 2017, she served as VCU’s Project Director on a U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women grant. She has delivered hundreds of educational programs to allied professionals, faculty, students and public policy officials including a Virginia General Assembly house subcommittee as it considered Va. Code § 23.1-806, the mandatory reporting law on campus sexual assault as well as addressing the Virginia Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Assault in 2015. She also participated in an expert panel before congressional aids and media, “How Do We Address Sexual Assault in the New Congress?,” sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and National Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Forum in Washington, DC.

Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue