“In four years of college, more than one-fourth of undergraduate women at a large group of leading universities said they had been sexually assaulted by force or when they were incapacitated,
according to one of the largest studies of its kind, released Monday.”
New York Times, 1 in 4 Women Experience Sex Assault on Campus, September 21, 2015
Monday’s headline confirms what we already knew: sexual assaults on America’s college and university campuses continue to occur at extremely high rates which are alarming, disturbing and unacceptable. The rate for gender non-conforming students is even higher – nearly 30%.
Equally disturbing is the high number of survivors who do not report their assaults because they are embarrassed or ashamed about what happened to them. We need to change the norms around campus sexual assault so that survivors will always know they will be supported in whatever ways they wish to report and recover from sexual assault.
These findings, and those from earlier studies, point to an urgent need for a major cultural shift on America’s campuses. This shift requires a holistic, comprehensive approach, including buy-in and proactive transparency from the leadership in higher education; faculty and staff who are highly trained in responding to survivors’ needs; clear policies on investigation, adjudication and sanctions; and myriad educational approaches administered consistently throughout all four years of college.
Culture of Respect offers this multi-pronged, hands-on approach to help colleges and universities working to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault and to create a Culture of Respect on every campus. We are here to help not only the schools which participated in this most recent climate survey, but also to help the thousands of other institutions across our country, large and small, with the resources they need to ensure that all students are safe to pursue the promise of higher education.