Massachusetts Campus Sex Assaults: Guns Not The Answer

College campuses are hotbeds of youthful activity: Fraternities and sororities. Football and varsity sports games. Lots of consumption of alcohol. Drugs. Partying. Linking up between students (as opposed to dating). Put it all together, and at many, many colleges and universities, when it comes to college sexual assaults, those things are recipes for disaster. Today, sexual assaults on campus are in the spotlight, and people rightfully look for a way to prevent rapes at colleges and universities.

So, what do you think would happen if someone were now to add guns to the mix?

I’m not joking. Gun-rights advocates in 10 states are pushing for “reforms,” as they call it, so that female students — very young, usually 18-22 year old kids — can carry guns on campus. These people believe that all colleges and universities need these so-called “campus-carry laws,” so that anyone who even thinks of raping a female college student would think twice. Yes, these people believe that arming 18-22 year old college students with handguns, is the answer to campus sexual assaults. In my view as a Massachusetts campus sex assault attorney, most of these people are extremists. If you doubt that, consider this quote from a sponsor of a bill in Nevada that would allow 18-22, very young, women to carry loaded handguns on campus: “The sexual assaults that are occurring (on college campuses) would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.” That’s a direct quote from a Nevada Assemblywoman. I won’t give her the publicity by naming her here.

In my experience as a Massachusetts college sex assault attorney, most campus rapes occur between students who know each other. They all live together, play together, and study and learn together. Massachusetts is the college capital of the nation. When you consider the fact that the vast majority of Massachusetts sex assault accusations that occur on campuses, occur because too much alcohol was involved at a party, or because someone lost their judgment in the wrong moment, or that jealousy or emotional revenge might be involved, the above quote from that Nevada politician is downright scary. Aside from specializing in Massachusetts college sex offense accusations, I’m a Boston rape lawyer: I’ve seen many, many cases involving accusations of Massachusetts rape and other sex crimes, outside college campuses: The type of sexual assault accusations that take place on campus almost never involve violence of the type that one thinks of when one hears the word “rape”: A person being jumped from behind on a side street with a knife to their throat; someone being attacked in a dark parking lot with a gun to their head; someone being beaten terribly. Those are circumstances of violent physical, sexual assaults in which perhaps carrying a gun would be advisable. But in my professional experience as a Boston college student sex offense lawyer, campus sexual allegations between students almost always involve a situation where one or both parties to an encounter went “too far” due to a loss of judgment on the part of one or both people. Understand: That is not to condone such conduct — but it is to place it outside the context of a typical rape victim scenario, where horrific violence is often involved. Give a 20 year-old kid a loaded gun, and someone could be shot to death or maimed for life due to “going too far.”

I can’t fathom what people like this Nevada politician think is going to happen on college campuses, when very young, immature, intoxicated and drug-taking students, find themselves confronted with loaded guns. Those guns are going to be fired – or should I say misfired – and lots of young people are going to die. The innocent and the guilty. There are going to be countless gun accidents.

A better solution than arming very young college students with guns? Training young women in the art of self-defense. For example, I am an orange belt in Combat Sambo, which is a form of Russian self-defense (martial arts) without using weapons. It is remarkable how EASY it is to defend and protect yourself, and it is up to the individual person to determine just how much he or she wants to hurt an attacker. You can simply inflict some minor pain, or choose to break the person’s wrist or ankle, temporarily blind them, strike them in the groin, crush their foot, or strike them in the throat, so that you can defend yourself and then get to safety. These are all effective defense weapons and strategies – without the threat that someone will get a bullet in the head.

If a woman is in a threatening position where she is about to be raped, she should rely on some good self-defense – and not a loaded gun. Arming very young, 18-22 year old students with loaded guns on campus, is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard about in a long, long time.

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