The ugly truth about sexual assault
That is the number of college-bound students from the class of 2017 who will be sexually assaulted in college.
Here’s how we reached that number:
According to the Department of Justice, 25 percent of female undergraduate students and 6 percent of male undergraduate students will experience some form of sexual assault in college. Sexual assault includes: rape, attempted rape, manipulation, physical and emotional coercion, and physical force (threats and intimidation).
740 seniors from the class of 2017 went to college. Of those, 348 were male and 392 were female.
348 x .06 = 21 men who will be sexually assaulted in college
392 x .25 = 98 women who will be sexually assaulted in college
21 + 98 = 119 students who will be sexually assaulted in college
On January 28, 2015, Stanford student Brock Turner was indicted on two counts of rape, two counts of felony sexual assault and one count of attempted rape. Turner was allegedly confronted by two Swedish grad students on January 18 while having sex with an unconscious woman, referred to as Jane Doe. Turner tried to flee the scene but he was chased down. That’s when the Swedish student asked Turner the infamous question, “Why are you smiling?” A year later on March 30, 2016 Turner was found guilty on two counts of felony sexual assault and one count of attempted rape.
Justice served, right? Not really.
Most penalties for rape range from one year to life in prison but Turner was sentenced to six months in jail, a sentence he served only half of. For comparison if you are charged with first time marijuana possession you can face up to a year.
An estimated 95 percent of female sexual assaults survivors do not report being assaulted, so of the 98 assaults on the females of the class of 2017, only 5 will be reported. Also, of those reported only 25 percent of reported cases lead to arrests, so of those five only 1.25 will lead to arrests.
There are many reasons why survivors don’t report being sexually assaulted. The most common reasons are not wanting people to know, lack of proof, fear of retaliation, being unsure of what constitutes sexual assault, unsure how to report it and fear of unfair treatment from the justice system.
That last point has certain merit. According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report, for every 100 rapes committed, only two rapist will go to jail. The same report stated that a plurality of police officers believe in Rape Myths. Rape Myths include, women ask for it, only “bad girls” get raped and women “cry rape” after they are left by a significant other or to “cover something up.”
Even when when cases are reported, only around half of them lead to prosecution. Prosecutors are hesitant to take on cases unless the suspect has a criminal record, there is physical evidence and there is no question about the survivors behavior or character. That’s why, as of 2015, there were 400,000 untested rape kits.
The legal aftermath of being sexually assaulted is not the only deleterious aftermath. Hefty personal cost can accumulate for survivors due to loss of college tuition that can result from a trial, cost of tutoring, medical cost, legal counsel and a lower quality of life. MIT estimates that the total cost of being a survivor can range from $87,000 to $241,000, an average of $164,000 per survivor. Multiply that by the 119 and that’s $19,516,000 that the class of 2017 will spend after being sexually assaulted.
The statistic that hit me the hardest as a male is the fact that the same percent of men who get sexually assaulted in college (6 percent), report either attempting or successfully committing rape.
So, purely based on statistics, 21 male graduates of the class of 2017 will attempt or successfully commit rape. The same report showed that those who successfully rape average at 5.8 rapes a piece.
Sexual assault can have tremendous emotional ramifications. 34 percent of survivors experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Compare that to the 10-18 percent of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have PTSD. 33 percent of survivors develop depression related to their assault. All this leads to the 40 percent of survivors that use alcohol or drugs to self medicate.
If you are in a relationship it doesn’t mean you are safe from sexual assault. Of all sexual assaults 62 percent are from intimate partners. Of the 119, 74 will be sexually assaulted by their intimate partners.
When Jack and I started researching for this article we were not expecting these high numbers. However when I told these numbers to my girlfriend Caroline she was not shocked at all. That’s the the harsh reality of all of this. Women throughout their lives have been taught ways to avoid situations where they will be susceptible to being assaulted. However boys aren’t taught by society to not rape. We are told “No means No,” but that’s not good enough. That’s why some states are adopting “Yes means Yes” laws.
I hope this article can accomplish two things: increase a survivor’s likelihood of reporting being assaulted, and two, letting assaulters know that sexual assault is one of the most heinous crimes in my opinion. We need to make society respond with more outrage towards sexual assault than drugs.
If you have experienced sexual assault or know someone who has and want to share your story email NCVITC@gmail.com n