A study conducted by the Association of American Universities released on Monday has produced staggering results in regards to the number of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses across the country. According to their report entitled “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault” approximately 23.1 % of female undergraduate students have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by physical force or threat of physical force. The study included information amassed from 150,000 students at 28 different universities across the U.S.
The Association of American Universities, AAU for short, administered their Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault to 60 different member universities but only 27 universities chose to take part in the survey. One non-member university also participated in the survey administered by the AAU. Of the 60 member campuses, three from Massachusetts declined to take part. Boston University, Brandeis University, and MIT all opted out of the sexual assault survey. Harvard University, however, chose to take part in the survey and found their results to be alarming. Approximately 31% of their 60% senior female student body responded that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since they began taking classes at Harvard University. Many of the 31% indicated that the sexual could be classified as rape and not just sexual harassment.
The survey conducted by the AAU also showed that many transgender, genderqueer, non-conforming, and questioning individuals had a high rate of experiencing sexual violence as well. Approximately 24% of these individuals indicated that they had been victims of some form of sexual assault during their time on campus.
According to the Association of American Universities, while this information may be eye-opening, it still does not help eliminate the difficult task of reducing the number of sexual assaults taking place across U.S. campuses. The AAU stated that less than 28% of sexual assaults are reported to authorities, and that more than half of the individuals who have been victims of sexual violence have stated that they didn’t feel as though the crime was “serious enough” to report to the police. The other percentage of these individuals have stated that they feel as though reporting the incident would be too emotionally taxing, and that they were unsure if anything would happen to their abuser if they were to speak out against the violence they had endured.
The positive side to this information: half of the individuals who reported their sexual assaults have said that they had a positive experience with law enforcement when authorities began handling their cases. Still—more needs to be done in order to properly educate individuals on the rights they have following an unwanted sexual experience. These violent crimes need to be eliminated altogether, but until we live in a more perfect society, vulnerable and at risk people will need to take steps in order to better protect themselves.
The Association of American Universities said that of the member universities that declined to take part in the survey, a number of them had been conducting their own surveys on the matter and are expected to release them in the upcoming months.
Additional quotes, graphs, and information may be found at the following links: http://www.boston.com/news/education/2015/09/21/largest-campus-assault-survey-shows-more-than-one-five-women-are-sexually-assaulted/4BRCzxUv2oCbqBMd8bZxzL/story.html?p1=well_ICYMI_main_hp