Unreported sexual assault on college campuses
A separate report published in January by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault revealed that one in five women and one in 14 men experienced sexual assault while in college.Victimization rates are higher for female bisexual and transgender students.
So college officials seek to provide information, logistical support and access to counseling.“We are restoring their power to them,” said Alicia Caudill, executive vice president of student affairs.For years, experts have stressed that crime statistics shared by America’s colleges and universities underestimate the number of campus sexual assaults because students infrequently report these incidents to the authorities.Now, data from a survey released last month by the Association of American Universities (AAU) has revealed a second major problem with those numbers: They’re also undercounting the number of rape reports that schools actually receive.Officials interviewed by The Post and Courier at the College of Charleston, the city of Charleston Police Department, the Medical University of South Carolina and rape crisis centers across the state all expressed regret that more victims didn't step forward and seek help.Nevertheless, students rarely report sexual assaults to school authorities, according to the White House report."Of the 2,380 students who indicated that they had experienced rape (out of the 25,000 surveyed), only 170 students — or 7 percent — reported the rape to school authorities," the report states.Alcohol was involved in about two out of every three incidents.
And most women knew their attackers at least casually.
About 30 to 35 students each year contact the College of Charleston’s victim services office to report a sexual assault.
At the University of South Carolina, the numbers are even higher — as many as 62 victims report assaults to the school’s Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention office each year.
At Michigan State University, the numbers were 256 to 15; at the University of Michigan, 256 to 21.
Here’s the full dataset comparing the self-reported AAU data with the number of reported rapes that turned up in schools’ Clery Act filings: Our analysis includes only women who said in the the AAU survey that they reported rape by physical force, threats, or while they were too intoxicated (or otherwise incapacitated) to give consent.
Robin La Rocque, director of the College of Charleston's victim services office, explained that her staff encourage students to take the next step and report sexual assaults to police.“We will accompany them to report, and if they don’t want to report, we will help them anyway,” La Rocque said.