An analysis of federal campus safety data for more than 2,000 college campuses in the United States found that more than half of them had zero reported rapes on campus in 2014.
From The Washington Post:
A Washington Post review of federal campus safety data for more than 2,200 colleges that offer bachelor’s or advanced degrees found that more than 1,300 of the schools had no reports of rape on campus in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.
The numbers underscore what is often a huge gulf between the estimated prevalence of sexual violence on campus and the actual number of reports schools receive. A Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year found that one in five young women who attended college in a four-year span said they had been sexually assaulted during that time — a finding echoed in other surveys. But a far smaller share said they reported such incidents to school authorities.
Some colleges and universities had dozens of reported rapes, with Brown University and the University of Connecticut topping the list with 43 apiece.
As The Post dug into the data, they found certain schools had advantages over others. Some are commuter schools or online-only universities, which would greatly reduce the risk of such instances as no students live on those campuses. Others have very small student populations.
Yet, Senator Kristen Gillibrand thinks the schools with no reported rapes might be actively hiding something.
“Either they don’t have an adequate reporting system … or they know about the rapes and are putting them under the rug,” she told The Post.
Senator Claire McCaskill said that seeing reports go up on some campuses as a “good” sign. She went on to clarify that she’d like to see the number of incidents go down, but since it’s believed that rape is underreported, schools with higher number of reported rapes are creating an environment where victims are comfortable coming forward. The implication being that those campuses with zero reported rapes have created an atmosphere that encourages silence.
Of course, it could simply be that sexual assault on campus is no longer as widespread as it is believed to be, because of increased awareness by school administrators, students, or both.
According to LawNewz:
So, one U.S. Senator is accusing colleges of knowingly sweeping rapes “under the rug” with zero actual evidence, aside from her own preconceived notions of reality. And the other, is making a bizarre statement about wanting to see reports going up and incidents going down. But, again, her preconceived notion of reality seemingly prevents her from believing that there could actually be no incidents of rape to report.
That is not to say there isn’t a problem of rape on college campuses, or that rape victims are sometimes hesitant to come forward. However, there is a problem with starting with an assumption and willfully disbelieving anything to the contrary.
Yet, it’s not inconceivable that, especially on small campuses or at religious schools, antiquated ideas about rape and sexual assault persist. It is a crime that, thanks in part to human nature and how bad society has been towards victims of sexual assault, brings its victims feelings of shame or that they were somehow at fault.
What do you think? Are colleges finally getting the issue of campus sexual assault under control or do these data show us that some campuses are still woefully behind the times? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories in the comments below.
From image via screengrab