This week, President Obama will announce a new campaign in an effort to stop the sexual violence epidemic taking place on college campuses across the country. From the Associated Press:
White House officials say the campaign, called “It’s On Us,” will challenge everyone on campuses to see sexual assault as their personal responsibility to prevent, but will particularly target male students.
In the past year, the Federal Government has stepped up its efforts to help victims, prevent further crimes and hold schools accountable when they mishandle reported assaults. In addition to a federal investigation into more than 70 major U.S. colleges and universities, the White House recently launched NotAlone.org, a web database of resources dedicated to equipping students with tools and reporting mechanisms to fight sexual violence.
Here’s a look at the numbers that show how big the problem has become.
1 in 5 Female College Students are Victims of Sexual Violence.
According to a Department of Justice report, 19 percent of college females were victims of sexual violence while attending school.
College-Aged Women are More Likely to be Victims of Sexual Violence Than Any Other Group.
A report from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network found that women who are college-aged are four times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than any other demographic.
90% of Victims Knew Their Attacker.
Statistics indicate that most campus sexual assaults aren’t random acts of violence. A report from the National Institute of Justice found that in 9 out of 10 campus rape reports, the victim knew their attacker.
30% of Female Victims of College Sexual Assault Contemplated Suicide.
Studies indicate that the lasting effects of sexual assault can include depression, post-traumatic stress and suicide.
There Was a 52% Rise in College Sexual Assault Reports From 2001-2012.
Other related numbers are just as dramatic: According to an NPR story, reports of forcible rape on campuses rose 49 percent from 2008-2012. But, as Business Insider notes, this could also be an indication that victims are becoming more empowered to report these crimes.
90% of Campus Rapists are Serial Rapists.
On college campuses, rapists have most often claimed several victims, and victims are often first or second year students.
Dozens of American Colleges are Under Investigation by the Department of Education for How They Handled Reports of Sexual Assault.
This summer, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened investigations into more than 70 schools over how they handled—or mishandled—reports of sexual assaults, as the problem continues to garner national attention.
Of All Violent Crimes, Rape is the Least Reported.
Just 11 percent of college rape victims report it to police. Often times, victims of sexual assault are hesitant to come forward and report the crime to law enforcement. As part of the NotAlone campaign to fight sexual violence on campus, the website features resources about campus law enforcement, how to file a Title IX complaint against the school and how to find contact local victims’ support organizations in your area.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.