By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sexual assault in educational institutions is not a new issue. What is new is that the President of the United States has said it is unacceptable. When else has a world leader even discussed sexual assault?

According to the Women’s Law Project, in elementary school through college, young women are subjected to “sexual victimization” – a term that encompasses both sexual assault and sexual harassment and includes behavior ranging from sexual comments and inappropriate touching to rape.

Young women are at greatest risk of being raped between the ages of 16 and 24 and at higher risk in college, where such activity has become rampant.

Victimization not only deprives young women of an education, but also causes physical, emotional, and mental health problems that may follow them through life.

In some cases, the victim is so distraught that she becomes suicidal. Increased prevention efforts and enforcement of laws that prohibit such conduct in our schools are necessary to protect the health, well-being, and lives of students.

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