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One in Four Female Undergrads Reports Sexual Misconduct

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Thursday, September 24, 2015

One in Four Female Undergrads Reports Sexual Misconduct

*The following is excerpted from an online article from the Los Angeles Times.

More than 1 in 4 female undergraduate students say they have been victimized by nonconsensual sexual contact, according to a new survey of 27 universities across the country.

But the survey for the Assn. of American Universities, one of the most comprehensive ever conducted on college sexual misconduct, found wide variation in the cases depending on campus, gender, age and type of offense.

Nationally, the rate of such misconduct ranged from 13% to 30% across campuses. The risk was highest for freshmen women, whose rate was 16.9%, compared with 11.1% for seniors in 2014-15. Over the course of their college life, 27.2% of senior females reported being victimized.

The online survey of 150,000 students also found low rates of reporting sexual misconduct and a mixed response over whether respondents believed their university would conduct a fair investigation. But the vast majority of those who actually reported their cases gave high marks to officials for showing them respect and helping them understand their options.

The survey asked students whether the nonconsensual sexual contact occurred by force, incapacitation, nonphysical coercion or the absence of "affirmative consent," an emerging standard that requires both partners to explicitly agree to the encounter. Physical force was the most prevalent tactic and coercion the least.

Overall, 28% of female undergraduates reported they were victimized by any of the four tactics. About 23% of female undergraduates and 11.7% of all students surveyed reported the most serious — physical force and incapacitation — had been used against them.

Rates of reporting ranged from 5% to 28%, depending on the type of violation involved. More than half of those surveyed said they did not report it because they didn’t think it was serious enough, while others said they were too embarrassed or ashamed, among other reasons.

Source: Los Angeles Times