When you think about ‘sexual assaults’ and how often they happen, you may not believe it’s that much. You may know someone who has experienced it, or you may know stories of people it has happened to, but a study has discovered that it’s far more common than most people can admit.
A study carried out by the Association of American Universities that interviewed 150,000 students across 27 campuses in the US found that 1 in four females students had experienced sexual assault of some degree while in college. That’s 25%. That means you take four random girls from any college, and one of them will experience sexual assault during their time in college.
This backs up and confirms previous studies that discovered the number was around one in five, and it’s got people talking about what can be done about it.
What Counts as Sexual Assault?
It’s worth mentioning for clarity that sexual assault is an umbrella term used to define the full scale of what could happen. In the AAU study, sexual assault was defined as anything from harassing text messages and stalking to intimate partner violence and, of course, rape and nonconsensual intercourse.
Of course, there’s no doubt that everybody should find these findings disturbing. Even the Harvard President, Drew G. Faust, commented on the results, saying he found them ‘deeply disturbing.’
So why is this the case?
Well, one comment is that the results are a little tainted. The study actually took place by handing out over 780,000 survey applications, yet only 20% were filled out and returned, meaning only 20% of the original surveys were completed. Since this is a survey on sexual assault, those who have experienced sexual assault, know someone who has or has some kind of experience with it are more likely to reply, meaning the number could be a little higher than what it actually is.
But that’s not all.
From the people who did fill in the survey, around 50% of people said they did not report the assault happening at the time because they didn’t believe it was serious enough to tell someone else, and this is very worrying news.
If sexual assault is taking place, but the people affect by it (around 5% of undergraduate men are assaulted during their time in college), are not understanding the severity of it, as well as experiencing the more traditional effects of not speaking up because they’re traumatized by the events or are ashamed it happened, then no positives changes can be made.
Making a Difference
If you’ve experienced sexual assault while in college to any degree, it’s vital that you speak up. Whether you’re male or female, more people than you probably realized are experiencing the same thing, and by talking about it and highlighting the issues, we can then start working towards solutions and understanding how to stop it from happening in the first place.
If you’ve been personal affected by a sexual assault situation, then make sure you contact an experienced sex crime lawyer who will be able to help you explore what your options are.
Sexual assault crime isn’t going away unless we collectively start to do something about it. While the taboo of talking about experiences is starting to shred, we still have some way to go, but through studies and collectively taking action, we can make real change that will define the generation and will eventually put a stop to it for good.