Legislators join advocates in fight against campus sexual assault

Tim Goral's picture

One in five. That’s how many women are sexually assaulted during college, according to research cited by government agencies working to combat the problem.

And no matter how many times Pittsburg (Kansas) State University student Ali Smith looks at the statistic, she said she’s shocked.

“That’s a lot of women,” said Smith, a senior communication major and a member of the university’s peer advocacy group, Students for Violence Prevention. “It’s a motivator (to try to decrease that number), but it’s also saddening. A lot of people who have been sexually assaulted don’t tell anyone about it, so it’s not something you know if it’s going on or not.”

Locally, a total of 14 forcible sex offenses were reported by the region’s four local colleges and universities during a three-year period ending 2012, according to federal data. Those numbers likely don’t paint a complete picture of what happens on campuses, according to victims’ rights advocates and college administrators. Colleges and universities must report crime data, but only about one-third do so in a way that fully satisfies federal requirements, a national study found in 2005.

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