1 In 5 College Women Say They’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One in five college females say they’ve been the victims of sexual assault during their college careers. That’s according to one of the biggest surveys ever done on sexual assault and harassment at university campuses.

Derek Valcourt has more on the study and its findings.

This survey reveals some surprising new statistics—not just about how often sex assaults happen but also how often they’re reported to police.

As you might expect, women on college campuses are far more at risk. The report by the Association of American Universities reviewed surveys from more than 150,000 students at 27 top colleges and universities. It found 23% of all undergraduate women reported being the victim of sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact. For men, that number is much lower: only about five percent.

The study is some of the first research to show 24% of transgender, gay, lesbian and questioning students say they’ve been victims.

“This is really just one more wake up call and I don’t know how many more the schools need. They have got to start taking this seriously,” said Lisae Jordan, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The study confirms freshman students are more likely to be victims and that alcohol is often a factor in the sexual assaults.

The survey also gave a surprising glimpse at how few sex assaults on campuses are reported to authorities. The study found fewer than 28%—or about one in four—sexual assaults are reported to the school or police.

“Sexual assault continues to be something that people do not report and that the way that we respond to sexual assault really makes people hesitate before they tell anyone,” Jordan said.

Though Towson University was not part of the survey, administrators there and at many other schools have been putting more support in place to help victims.

“And not only do we do a good job on the response end but we have a lot of campus-wide programming that we do to educate students about how to prevent assault in the first place,” said Dr. Maria Wydra, Towson University.

No Maryland universities or colleges were part of this survey but Maryland lawmakers passed a bill last year requiring all universities and colleges to conduct a similar climate survey of its students.

For more information and to see the actual survey results, click here.

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