Sexual Assault Runs Rampant on College Campuses
A recent and respected study illustrates the pervasiveness of this issue deep into the 21st century
Although college is an exciting time of life for many, for some it introduces victims to the dangers that lurk in our world today. A recent survey indicates that 23 percent of female college students experienced some type of unwanted sexual contact, including unwanted kissing, inappropriate touching, or rape. Much of the unwanted contact occurred through the use of force or while the victim was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. The results of the study corroborate earlier studies, which generally show an assault rate of 1 in 5 females at universities.
Unwanted sexual contact increases with age on college campuses. Senior female college students reported a rate of 26 percent, with universities experiencing rates up to 34 percent.
The survey, carried out by the Association of American Universities, has captured attention due to the widespread participation throughout the nation. Over 150,000 college students from 27 universities across the country responded. Many of the participants attend college at prominent universities, including all the Ivy League schools except Princeton, and large universities in California, Florida, and the Midwest.
Despite the extensiveness of the study, critics contend it does not accurately report the extent of sexual assault on campuses. Interestingly enough, some critics say the study under reports the problem, others claim it over reports the problem, and some simply say it is inaccurate.
The typical concern raised with surveys like this is that victims are often reluctant to report sexual crimes. This reluctance results in sexual assault crimes being under reported. However, a response to this criticism is that it shows an incident rate of 23 percent, which is higher than the 1 in 5 reported in previous studies.
Other critics of this study contend that it exaggerates the problem. While not downplaying the seriousness in any way, some have criticized the study for being too broad and including unwanted sexual activity that does not amount to rape or forced oral sex. For example, while 23 percent of the respondents reported unwanted sexual contact, this contact varied from unwanted kissing to forcible rape. These two incidences are both unwanted sexual activity, but they vary greatly in their seriousness. By providing more detail on exactly what occurred in each incident, critics contend the study could have given a better picture of the overall problem.
Finally, other critics simply attack the study because of its design. Although 27 universities is a sizeable number, it is a very small sampling of the more than 7,000 institutions of higher learning in the United States. Also, primarily elite and large universities were sampled, while no Christian colleges or community colleges participated.
Regardless of the criticisms of the study, no one denies the seriousness of the problem. Unwanted sexual activity is rampant on college campuses. If you have been the victim of sexual assault, or you’ve been unfairly accused of a sex crime on a college campus, the compassionate Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers at Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley are here to help. Contact us online or call our Murfreesboro office at 615-893-1331.