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Campus Assault Statistics

Studies of sexual assault on college campuses show some sobering and persistent statistics:

National Institute of Justice Study

Fisher, B.S., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2000). The Sexual Victimization of College Women. National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  • Completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career.
  • 90% of women survivors of rape and sexual assault knew their offender.
  • Almost 12.8% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22.9% of threatened rapes happened during a "date."
  • Off-campus sexual victimization is much more common among college women than on-campus victimization.  Of victims of completed rape 33.7% were victimized on campus and 66.3% off campus.
  • Less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women were reported to law enforcement.  However, in 66% of the incidents the survivor did tell another person, usually a friend.

Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Committee Study

(Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. National Institute of Justice.

  • 18% percent experienced an attempted (13%) and/or completed sexual assault since entering college.
  • Among the total sample, 5% experienced a completed physically forced sexual assault, but a much higher percentage (11%) experienced a completed incapacitated sexual assault.
  • Sexual assaults were most likely to occur in September, October and November, on Friday or Saturday nights, and between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.
  • Some 80% of survivors of physically forced or incapacitated sexual assault were assaulted by someone they knew.
  • First-years and sophomores are at greater risk for victimization than juniors and seniors.

(data from the studies were adapted from the Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) web site.)

National Institute for Mental Health and Ms. Magazine Study of College Sexual Assault

The incidence of rape on college campuses has remained much the same over a long period of time.  In a classic 1988 study, The National Institute for Mental Health and Ms. Magazine teamed up for the first comprehensive student of sexual assault and date rape on college campuses.

Incidence facts

  • One in four college women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape
  • One in seven college men surveyed are victims of sexual assault
  • 85% of rapes on campus are acquaintance rapes
  • One in six female college students reported having been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the preceding year
  • 27% of women have experienced a rape or attempted rape since age 14
  • The majority of reported victims and offenders are college age, with the rape victimization highest among 16-19 year olds

Women's responses to assault facts

  • Only 27% of the women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape thought of themselves as rape victims
  • 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about their assault
  • 42% of the women who were raped said they had sex again with the men who assaulted them
  • 42% of raped women said they expect to be raped again

Men's responses to rape facts

  • 84% of college men who committed rape said that what they did was definitely not rape
  • 55% of the men who raped said they had sex again with their victims
  • One in fifteen male students reported committing a rape or attempting to commit rape during the preceding year
  • Nearly one third of college men said they were likely to have sex with an unwilling partner if they thought they could get away with it

Reporting facts

  • 5% of college women who are raped report the rape to the police
  • 5% of college women who are raped seek help at a rape crisis center

(as reported in Robin Warshaw, I Never Called It Rape, Harper & Row, 1988).