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College female students less likely to report sexual assault

Are our Texas college campuses safe for your daughters?

According to a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, when it comes to rape and sexual assault of females, the highest number of crimes occurred with 18 to 24- year-old victims. This age group includes our college-age daughters, as well as nonstudents.

The report compares statistics between rape or unwanted sexual acts inflicted on students and nonstudents. The data was collected from a survey, which is called the National Crime Victimization Survey, and it covers a time period between 1995 and 2013.

The findings show that nonstudents actually had a higher percentage of sexual assaults reported than students. The nonstudents had an average of 7.6 assaults per 1,000, and the students had 6.1 assaults per 1,000. However, further findings show that students were less likely to report a rape or sexual assault than nonstudents. Roughly, 80 percent of students who were raped or sexually assaulted were unlikely to report it. In the nonstudents group, about 67 percent were unlikely to report it.

Reasons for not reporting rape or sexual assault were varied. Some felt it was not important enough to report. Some felt that the police couldn’t do anything to help. Others didn’t want to get the offender in trouble and some were afraid of reprisal. In both students and nonstudents, about 80 percent of the victims knew their offenders, and in one out of 10 cases, a weapon was used.

Sexual assault can do severe emotional damage to a victim, young or old. Around 60 percent of the college-age female victims also experienced physical injury during the assaults; however, only four in 10 students went for medical treatment.

Young women and men of this age group need to know that it is okay to report an assault, and that they are not to blame. They should seek medical treatment and any necessary counseling to overcome this tragic event, or it may have lasting effects on them. They may even be able to seek damages from the offender if the offender is identified and charged.

Parents can also have a big impact on their young adult children by teaching them how to avoid dangerous situations, and also fostering an atmosphere that says it is okay to tell.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013" Jan. 05, 2015

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