Despite the significant progress made in reducing violence against women, there is still a long way to go. College students are particularly vulnerable: 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted while in college, primarily during their freshmen or sophomore years. In a majority of cases (75-80%), the woman knows her attacker, whether as an acquaintance, classmate, friend, or (ex) boyfriend. Many of these offenders are serial perpetrators. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released a 90-day report with policy recommendations and best practices for schools in four critical areas:
- Identifying the scope of the problem
- Preventing sexual assault and engaging men
- Responding effectively to sexual assault and holding offenders accountable
- Increasing transparency and improving enforcement
- Overall, 11.7% of student respondents across 27 universities reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation since they enrolled at their university
- The incidence of sexual assault and sexual misconduct due to physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation among female undergraduate student respondents was 23.1%, including 10.8% who experienced penetration.
- Overall rates of reporting to campus officials and law enforcement or other were low, ranging from 5% to 28%, depending on the specific type of behavior.
- The most common reason for not reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct was that it was not considered serious enough. Other reasons included because they were “embarrassed, ashamed or that it would be too emotionally difficult,” and because they “did not think anything would be done about it.”
- More than 6 in 10 student respondents (63.3%) believe that a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct would be taken seriously by campus officials.
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