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Sexual Assault in College is Rising Again

According to Rainn Statistics, the Association of American Universities released a follow-up report from the 2015 Campus Climate Survey. The 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct found a 3.0% increase in nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force. 

 

The AAU survey found that 23.1% of undergraduate females and 5.4% of undergraduate males experience rape or sexual assault, through physical violence or incapacitation. 

 

Only 20% of female student victims report to law enforcement, often for fear of bias towards the perpetrator. Some also fear being judged for alcohol usage. Despite gray areas, consent must be an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activities. Proper consent cannot be obtained when alcohol is involved. 

 

Women’s Health found that 15% of women experienced incapacitated rape during their first year of college. Other factors in the increase of college sexual assault include the lack of reports and being peer pressured into drinking, partying, and/or sexual activity. 

 

The Washington Post held a survey this past October, which covered statistics of assault and misconduct in 33 universities. The data shows shocking figures of female undergraduates experience non-consensual contact. However, it also shows an increase in students who understand the definition of assault and where they can seek aid. 

 

Despite many recent surveys indicating increases in sexual assault on campuses, many survivors do not come forward. Therefore, the data may be more incomplete than it seems. 

 

Often, when women do come forward, the men involved either aren’t indicted or the campus ignores the claim. Worse, in cases such as the Brock Turner case, perpetrators are let off. 

 

In November of 2014, Rolling Stone Magazine published an article titled “A Rape on Campus”. The piece accounted for the indifference of the University of Virginia to sexual assault survivors. 

 

The article centered on Jackie, a student who was allegedly gang-raped at a fraternity house early in her freshman year. The article highlighted how the school put its reputation first. The piece was eventually retracted due to a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the magazine by the school. 

 

This is not the only case of this nature. In #MeToo America, colleges like the University of Iowa have created classes to help alleviate cases of sexual assault. 


Combatting sexual assault on college campuses is no easy feat. Still, there are ways in which universities are making positive strides forward and individuals can take strides to educate themselves as well. For new and returning university students, make sure to read our article on how to stay safe this semester.

Featured Image by Center for Teaching Excellence on Flickr

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