USA TODAY College – March 27, 2017
The University of Texas-Austin released a new sexual assault report with results that were shocking for a lot of the UT-Austin community and brought deep concerns.
The report showed that 15% of undergraduate women at UT-Austin reported that they had been raped while attending the university. For a campus of more than 50,000 people, that would mean thousands of women were reportedly raped during their undergraduate years.
And 32% of the students surveyed said they had never told anyone abut the incident or incidents they experienced before completing the survey. Out of the students who did tell someone, only 6% reported it to university services.
The survey results left many UT-Austin parents, students, faculty and staff concerned about safety on campus.
In a letter to the UT community about the survey, UT-Austin President Greg Fenves called the survey findings “a wake-up call.” He urged survivors to report sexual assaults to the university Title IX office.
“No voice is too quiet to listen to. No story of abuse is too minor to ignore. No truth is too uncomfortable to face. We support you,” he wrote.
Student Body President Kevin Helgren said in a Facebook post, “15 percent is unacceptable and inexcusable. These percentages are reflective of a societal issue. Sexual assault and interpersonal violence are endemic to college campuses and we must take an active role in addressing these issues quickly and thoroughly.”
Freshman Alexis Tatum said the survey numbers shocked her and reminded her of the dangers of being a young female on a large college campus.
“To find out this many women have been raped at my school is disheartening and eye opening,” Tatum told USA TODAY College. “I know someone who is a freshman that has been raped.”
Tatum said she works late nights at the library and plans to be extra cautious and aware of her surroundings.
Some UT-Austin organizations have already taken an active role in addressing such issues. During the fall semester, the Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coalition was formed, with several organizations dedicated to preventing and ending interpersonal violence at the university.
Other key findings of the report: 28% of undergraduate women at UT-Austin said they were victims of unwanted sexual touching, and 12% said they experienced attempted rape.
The survey, which began in May 2015, invited 45,000 students to participate. About 7,700 random students filled out an online questionnaire, anonymously — a response rate of 17.1%.
Five forms of violence and misconduct were looked at:
– Sexual harassment by faculty/staff.
– Sexual harassment by students.
– Relationship abuse and violence.
– Unwanted sexual contact.
The intersectionality of race and ethnicity with violence and misconduct was not explored.
This UT-Austin report is part of a larger University of Texas System report, that expands across 13 institutions.