Let's Talk About Campus Sexual Assault

TW: Sexual Assault

Campus sexual assault is the sexual assault of a student while attending an institution of higher learning such as a university or college.

Students are protected under Title IX from sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault. The current Title IX process requires schools to adopt and publish a grievance procedure outlining Title IX procedures so students know their rights. However, campus sexual assault frequently goes unreported and is handled poorly by school administrations.

13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.

26.4% of female undergraduate students, 6.8% of male undergraduate, and 23.1% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) students experience rape or sexual assault.

5.8% of students have experienced stalikng since entering college. 

1 in 5 college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency with more than 50% of college sexual assaults occurring within a period known as the "red zone" - the period between the start of the school year in August to the time students usually go home for Thanksgiving Break.

College-aged female student victims have also been shown to report the assault to law enforcement at lower rates than their non-student peers. 20% of female student victims report compared to 32% of non-student victims. This means at least 80% of campus sexual assault goes unreported.

There are many reasons survivors don't report, including:

  • not wanting others to know

  • lack of proof

  • fear of retaliation, particularly from their assailant, the school, or their peers

  • being unsure of whether what happened constituted an assault

  • not knowing how to report or who to report to

  • fear of being treated by the criminal justice system

The White House Council on Women and Girls has noted that survivors of college sexual assault can incur costs of $87,000 to $240,776 for medical treatment, counseling, and noneconomic damages. Survivors can also incur costs in tutoring, lost tuition, and accrued student loans resulting from the interruption campus sexual assault causes their education.