Strong action needed

10% of female college students experienced sexual assault in 2015: study

(Nathan Weber/The New York Times)

A major new survey of 23,000 undergraduates, ordered by the 2014 White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, has found that 10 percent  of female college students in the U.S. experienced some form of sexual assault in 2015. The Bureau of Justice Statistics interviewed women at nine different colleges and found that 4 percent of students reported having been raped during the 2014-15 academic year, while more than 5 percent experienced another form of sexual battery, including unwanted kissing or forced touching. Certain colleges appeared to foster a more toxic environment than others, with numbers varying widely depending on the schools (which haven’t been named) — from a 4 percent rate of sexual assault at the “best” school, to a 20 percent rate at the “worst” one. “This demonstrates that rape isn’t a normal part of the college experience, but rather a horror that can be prevented with strong action from campus leadership and by holding more perpetrators accountable,” Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (Rainn) told The Guardian.

The survey also backed up several well-established facts of sexual assault on campus: rapists are most likely to be men (94 percent) and known to the victim (59 percent), and a vast majority of incidents go unreported. Only 12.5 percent of the surveyed rapes were ever officially reported (to a police officer, college official or hospital official), while a mere 4.3 percent of sexual battery incidents were reported. “A big part of the reason why that is is that people don’t expect that the people they are reporting it to will do anything about it,” Sofie Karasek, education director of End Rape on Campus.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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