President Obama seeks Wednesday to put a spotlight on the epidemic of sexual assault.
Obama will receive a report from the White House Council on Women and Girls detailing the problem — especially at colleges — and saying that nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes.
"Rape and sexual assault survivors often suffer from a wide range of physical and mental health problems that can follow them for life — including depression, chronic pain, diabetes, anxiety, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder," says the report.
The report also says that "most victims know their assailants," and too many of these crimes go unreported.
The report urges colleges to improve campus security, and calls for higher arrest, prosecution and conviction rates for sexual assault crimes.
A cultural change is also needed, it says.
"Sexual assault is pervasive because our culture still allows it to persist," the report says. "According to the experts, violence prevention can't just focus on the perpetrators and the survivors. It has to involve everyone."
From the Associated Press:
"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. ...
"Obama is giving the task force of administration 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."