By Megan Holzwarth
September 24, 2017
Going to college should be a fun time in people’s lives. It’s so exciting to finally be on your own and to meet new people while going out to parties, sporting events, clubs and late night study sessions. One thing that people shouldn’t have to worry about when going to school is sexual violence. Unfortunately however, this is something college students should definitely be aware of when they are on campus.
According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, women who are 18 to 24 years of age are at a high risk for sexual violence. RAINN’s “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics” said, “Among undergraduate students, 23.1 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.”
From RAINN’s Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics. Infographic
Sexual violence takes place more on college campuses than any other forms of crime that happen on those campuses. Students who are victims of sexual violence often do not come forward to report the crime to law enforcement. RAINN’s “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics” said, “Only 20 percent of female student victims, age 18 to 24, report to law enforcement. Only 32 percent of nonstudent females the same age do make a report.” RAINN also states that, “about one in six college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency.”
From RAINN’s “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics” Infographic
From RAINN’s Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics” Infographic
Another thing that students should be aware of is the fact that there are periods of increased risk of sexual violence throughout the year. According to RAINN, “More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November. Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.” Students should also keep in mind that law enforcement on campus are there to help protect students and have been trained to respond to this matter.
Below are some statistics from RAINN’s article: Campus Law Enforcement Has a Significant Role in Addressing and Responding to College Sexual Assault
- 86 percent of sworn campus law enforcement officials have legal authority to make an arrest outside of the campus grounds.
- 86 percent of sworn campus law enforcement agencies have a staff member responsible for rape prevention programming.
- 70 percent of campus law enforcement agencies have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with local law enforcement.
- 72 percent of campus law enforcement agencies have a staff member responsible for survivor response and assistance.
- Among four year academic institutions with 2,500 students or more, 75 percent employ armed officers, a 10 percent increase in the last decade.
College campuses are taking this issue seriously with the help of law enforcement on the campuses. The law enforcement on these school campuses are there to make sure that every student is safe.
Another method that college campuses use to keep their students safe is Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding, which is used at the majority of schools in the country. There is a website dedicated to Title IX and spreading awareness of sexual violence called “Know Your IX”, which was founded in 2013 by survivors of sexual violence. The article “Know Your IX” from the website of the same name says, “under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding.”
From “Know Your IX”
For students who are victims of sexual violence and are considering reporting about the crime this is what the schools must do under Title IX. According to “Know Your IX”, “schools must notify victims of their right to report to police and facilitate that process if desired by the victim. Victims also have the right not to report to the police. Regardless of a victim’s choice to report to the police, a victim may use a school’s grievance procedure to address sexual harassment or sexual violence or merely seek accommodations. When reasonable, schools must accommodate a victim on campus to remedy a hostile environment on a school’s campus.” Colleges that do not obey and help the victim may be in violation of Title IX.
Sexual violence is not something to be taken lightly and certainly not something that can be tossed under a rug. Issues of this nature are very serious and must be addressed and handled with respect to both the victims and accusers.