Campus sexual assault crisis

Approximately one in four female undergraduate students have experienced sexual misconduct. Exactly 23.1 percent have received physical force, threats of physical force or incapacitation. 10.3 percent have experienced penetration according to a survey produced by the Association of American Universities.

Although rates of sexual misconduct are high, resultant reporting on campus is low. The range from the AAU survey is five percent to 28 percent according to university officials. Reasons for females not to report offences are due to “embarrassment and emotional difficulty” and also because they “did not think anything would be done about it.”

Furthermore, approximately 50 percent of those involved in serious incidents do not report them because they felt it was not “serious enough.”

“AAU undertook this initiative to assist our universities in their ongoing efforts to address sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus,” said Hunter Rawlings, President of AAU. “The primary goal of the survey is to help them better understand the experiences and attitudes of their students with respect to this challenge.”

Another frequent problem is an encounter with an inebriated person. Nearly half of those surveyed have observed a drunken person heading for a sexual encounter and did not try to intervene. Perhaps it is, because less than 25 percent of students feel knowledgeable about using the resources available on campus for combating and preventing sexual assault.

The survey spread across 27 universities and over 150,000 undergraduate students participated. The survey focused on answering five primary questions regarding sexual assault.

First, how extensive is non-consensual sexual misconduct? Well, roughly 11 percent of female students are affected.

Lady stares while hiding behind a curtain. New study places sexual assaults at one in four women. (Wiki Commons)

Lady stares while hiding behind a curtain. New study places sexual assaults at one in four women. (Wiki Commons)

Second, how extensive is sexual harassment, stalking and intimate partner violence? About 23 percent have been affected or approximately one in four of the female students.

Third, who are the victims? The profiles differ for the victims not dependent on age or race.

Fourth, who do the students talk to about incidents? Students report to campus police or officials but, in this survey, more students did not talk about it at all.

Fifth, what is campus climate like around sexual assault? More than 60 percent of students believe it to be “very serious”.

“Participation in this and other climate surveys is an important part to combat sexual assault,” said Rawlings. It is an epidemic that needs a cure.